Khadr extradition hearing begins

The eldest son of Canada’s infamous Khadr family found his credibility under attack Monday as the Crown opened its extradition case against Abdullah Khadr nearly four years after he was arrested in Toronto at Washington’s request.

Maha Elsamnah

TORONTO — The eldest son of Canada’s infamous Khadr family found his credibility under attack Monday as the Crown opened its extradition case against Abdullah Khadr nearly four years after he was arrested in Toronto at Washington’s request.

Khadr, the son of a former close associate of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, is wanted by the United States on charges that he procured weapons for al-Qaida and plotted to attack Americans in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The defence maintains that self-incriminating statements Khadr, 28, made to Canadian and American agents are untrustworthy because they were the product of torture while in custody in Pakistan.

The prosecution, in turn, assailed the truthfulness Monday of an affidavit in which Khadr states, among other things, that his father was only engaged in charitable works in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“There is a pattern of intentional misleading in this affidavit that goes on and on,” Crown lawyer Howard Piafsky told Ontario Superior Court.

Khadr, whose younger brother Omar remains in custody in Guantanamo Bay, spent 14 months in custody in Pakistan, where he was arrested after the Americans put up a $500,000 bounty for his capture.

On Monday, the Toronto-born Khadr maintained that his father, Ahmed Said Khadr, never discussed his ideology with his children.

Piafsky suggested Khadr could not be believed, accused him of “brazen misstatements,” and said his claims about his father were false.

“How is it false?” a subdued Khadr asked from the witness stand.

Piafsky responded by citing Khadr’s younger brother Abdurahman as saying their father had asked him three times to become a suicide bomber.

“Abdurahman said lots of things,” Khadr retorted.

“He is part of the reason I’m in jail. Ninety nine per cent of what he said were lies.”

Khadr did concede he had been close to his father, who knew most of the top members of al-Qaida.

The Egyptian-born Khadr patriarch, who became a Canadian, was killed in 2003 during a raid by Pakistani forces.

The prosecution also questioned Khadr about training camps he attended as a teenager and went into detail about allegations against his father, who was hailed by al-Qaida as a martyr.

One of Khadr’s lawyers, Nate Whitling, objected to the questioning as an attempt to portray his client as guilty by association.

Justice Christopher Speyer agreed, urging Piafsky to stay focused.

“What I’m really worried about is that this is going to be a sideshow,” Speyer said.

Piafsky, however, called Khadr’s credibility central to the case.

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