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

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Disqualified Saanich soccer team disputes ruling

Saanich Fusion U15 girls alleged to have ineligible players

UPDATED: Emergency crews rescue pregnant woman from Mount Finlayson

Langford and Metchosin respond to roughly four-hour-long rescue

Victoria police pay special attention to domestic violence

Workshop for officers and others shows how domestic abuse trauma impacts for a long time

Peninsula speed skater has eyes on the podium at BC Winter Games

Tori Kalyniuk will have her Skittles ready before each race

WATCH: Oak Bay hosts inaugural Vancouver Island Polar Plunge for Special Olympics BC

Local cops drag multi-media journalists out for a swim ahead of March 11 event

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Environmentalists call on Saanich to protect public waterfront

Local environmentalists are calling on Saanich to develop a strategy to stop… Continue reading

B.C. man goes to jail for beating puppy to death

Robert Carolan has also been banned from owning animals for the next ten years

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Porch lights turn on for Canadian teen behind #BeccaToldMeTo movement

New Brunswick’s Rebecca Schofield had asked her Facebook followers to perform random acts of kindness

Victoria City rower medals at indoor world championships

Carl Schoch takes 2,000-metre sprint bronze in veteran category

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

Saanich Braves earn top awards heading into playoffs

MVP, Coach of Year lead Braves against Kerry Park Islanders starting Tuesday

Most Read