Sobbing Amanda Lindhout tells of abduction as kidnapping trial begins

Ali Omar Ader, a 40-year-old Somalian national, has pleaded not guilty to hostage-taking

An image of Ali Omar Ader is projected on a screen at RCMP headquarters during a press conference about his arrest for the kidnapping of Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout, in Ottawa on June 12, 2015. (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press)

An emotional Amanda Lindhout recounted the horrors of being kidnapped at gunpoint in Somalia as the trial of one of her alleged hostage-takers got underway.

Lindhout sobbed Thursday upon approaching the witness box to describe her abduction by a gang of armed men in masks nine years ago, the beginning of what she called 460 days of hell.

Lindhout, a freelance journalist from Red Deer, Alta., and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan were seized near Mogadishu in August 2008 while working on a story. Both were released in November 2009 in exchange for a ransom payment.

Ali Omar Ader, a 40-year-old Somalian national, has pleaded not guilty to a criminal charge of hostage-taking for his alleged role as a negotiator.

He was arrested by the RCMP in Ottawa in June 2015. It emerged during pre-trial motions last spring that the Mounties had lured Ader to Canada through an elaborate scheme to sign a purported book-publishing deal.

The Crown says Ader admitted to undercover investigators on two occasions that he was the negotiator in the kidnapping and that he was paid $10,000.

Ader sat in the prisoner’s box just metres away from Lindhout as she struggled to gain her composure with the help of a support person who sat beside her during the proceedings.

The Crown alleges Ader was known to the hostages as “Adam” and took part in several telephone calls with Lindhout’s mother to demand payment for her daughter’s release.

Lindhout, 36, told of being introduced to Adam, who was also called “the commander.”

He said Allah had put it into his heart to ask for a ransom for the two journalists, Lindhout told the court.

Her mother was earning minimum wage working at a bakery, and her father was on long-term disability, prompting Lindhout to tell her captors they might as well kill her now.

Lindhout said Adam asked her: “Are you ready to die?”

Lindhout testified she was repeatedly sexually assaulted and beaten while captive. She was moved frequently, spending time in 13 different places, often in filthy conditions. At one point, rats were “crawling all over my body,” she told the court.

In 2009, Lindhout established The Global Enrichment Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering leadership in Somalia through educational and community-based programs.

Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Orca-inspired sculpture pitched for Victoria Johnson Street Bridge parks

Designs unveiled as part of plans for public space around bridge

New Topaz Park plans include second Victoria skatepark

Splashpad, pickleball court and fenced off-leash parks being considered

Island Health sends out call to staff supervised consumption service in Victoria

Request for proposals open until January, site to open in late spring 2018

Saanich doubles price to provide fire dispatch services to Esquimalt

District of Saanich says it can no longer afford to subsidize service to smaller municipality

High construction costs send Douglas bus lane project $2.2 million higher

But re-tendered bid process by Victoria secures lower bid for Hillside-to-Tolmie stretch

Me Too At Work: Sexual assault and harassment in the B.C. workplace

Introducing an in-depth look at who is affected and what can be done

Vikes make bid to host national men’s basketball championships in 2019

Langford, Bear Mountain join UVic bid for nationals

Bomb detonated in Kamloops neighbourhood

Kamloops RCMP are investigating after an improvised explosive device was detonated Wednesday morning

Big Christmas donation

Village Foods helps out Sooke Christmas Bureau with $3,000 food donation

No More Shootouts: Strong defence will be Canada’s backbone at world juniors

Head coach doesn’t want a situation where a hot goalie or a lucky bounce can determine a team’s fate

Victoria denies potshop on Saanich border

Plans for a pot shop on Saanich’s border have gone up in… Continue reading

Proposed snowmobiles along Sicamous roads concern RCMP

RCMP, ICBC and province not yet on-board with proposed off-road bylaw in the B.C. Interior

Latest big finish leaves WHL Royals short of victory

Victoria plays hockey home and home against Vancouver this Friday and Saturday

‘Assemble your own meal’ kits grow into $120M industry in Canada

Kits offer a middle ground between eating out and grocery shopping

Most Read