EDMONTON — The common-law wife of a Canadian man suspected of supporting a terrorist group says her husband is innocent.
Cara Rain says Sayfildin Tahir Sharif “is not a terrorist” but a kind, generous family man.
“This man was and is a loving father to children that aren’t his, he opened his heart to me and my children,” said Rain in a statement released through Sharif’s lawyer.
“The man I have known and become to love would never and could never hurt a fly, never mind the things he is being accused of.”
Sharif, a 38-year-old Iraqi Canadian, was arrested by the RCMP in Edmonton last month at the request of the FBI.
He is charged in the U.S. with supporting a multinational terrorist network that took part in a suicide bombing which killed five American soldiers in Iraq. He faces a life sentence if convicted.
But Rain doesn’t think the U.S. has enough evidence to prove her husband is terrorist or has terrorist tendencies.
“I have no doubt in my mind, he is innocent,” said Rain. “I would not shared my home and shared my life and shared my children’s life with a terrorist.”
Rain also asked people to remember that Sharif, despite being of Iraqi origin, has been a Canadian citizen for 17 years and is innocent until proven guilty.
The FBI said the terrorist group involved in the April 2009 bombing Sharif is alleged to have supported is also believed to be responsible for another suicide bombing that killed seven Iraqis on March 31, 2009, at a police station.
The U.S. Department of Justice said Sharif was charged based on evidence gathered in Canadian court-authorized wiretaps and search warrants.
Documents from the department allege Sharif held multiple conversations in which he voiced support for the activities of the “Tunisian brothers” believed to be behind the Iraqi attacks.
Sharif provided advice to aspiring jihadists through online chats, the justice department alleged, citing a transcript in which he cautioned one contact to erase all evidence from his computer.
In November 2009, according to the Justice Department, Sharif told his mother that his greatest wish was to die a martyr and be greeted by 70 virgins in paradise.
Sharif’s lawyer has said his client, who remains in custody, will fight extradition to the United States.
Meanwhile, Rain said she and her children miss Sharif very much and “want him back home immediately.”
Rain, who converted from Christianity to Islam after she met Sharif, said she and her husband have answered all questions from the RCMP.
“We have nothing to hide.”