Asharq Al-Awsat, London- The Canadian authorities arrested the son of an Islamist militant with ties to Osama bin Laden, just weeks after he returned from Pakistan, acting on a US warrant.
Abdullah, the eldest son of Ahmad Said Khadr, was arrested after flying back to Toronto from Pakistan where he was detained for fourteen months without charge. He was arrested, in Scarborough, at approximately 7p.m on Saturday, in a restaurant near his house, where he went to meet a Canadian police officer, according to lawyer Dennis Edney in Edmonton on Sunday.
His father, an Egyptian-born Canadian and friend of Osama bin Laden, was killed in a gun battle with Pakistani forces in Waziristan in 2003. He was accused of being a fundraiser for al Qaeda.
Maha al Samnah, Abdullah’s mother who was with him at the time, tried to intervene on behalf of her son. She was taken into custody and later released. Abdul Rahman, another son, also witnessed the arrest.
In a telephone conversation with Asharq al Awsat, al Samnah revealed her son was tricked into meeting the police at a fast food restaurant. She expressed her shock at the US warrant and the authorities’ desire to question her son again, after he was interrogated in Pakistan.
Abdullah returned to Canada in early December and was accompanied by two Canadian police officers from Islamabad. The police announced at the time that he was a free man and would not be charged for terrorism-related activities.
Al Samnah indicated she was very upset and worried about the fate of her son and was finding it difficult to take care of her youngest of four, Karim, aged 15, who is paralyzed. His brother Omar, aged 19, is currently held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Officials have charged him with murder of a U.S medic in Afghanistan in 2002.
“I felt hope had returned to our family after my son Abdullah and my daughters Zaynab, aged 25 and Maryam, 13, with my 4-year-old granddaughter Safiya, returned to Toronto from Islamabad”, she said.
Abdullah is sought in Massachusetts for possession of a destructive device, conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals outside the country and conspiracy to use a destructive device against U.S. nationals and U.S. property outside the country.
Al Samnah denied these charges and told Asharq al Awsat she was certain her son would be released. Abdullah appeared on Sunday in court to examine the U.S. extradition request.
In an interview with Asharq al Awsat in April, Abdullah revealed he was obliged to travel constantly in order to evade the U.S. authorities who accuse him of being an instructor at an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan.
He rejected claims reported in the Western media that he had taught at a military camps but did not deny he received training in using light weapons.
Fluent in Persian, Pashto, Urdu and English, Abdullah told Asharq al Awsat he left Afghanistan in 2002 where he attended Khaldan camp but has not returned since.
Ahmad Said Khadr, also known as the Canadian Abu Abdul Rahman, a leading figure in Islamic Jihad, headed by Ayman al Zawahiri, bin Laden’s deputy, was accused by the Egyptian authorities of financing the bombing of the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad, in 1996.
Abdullah and his siblings grew up in Ontario before moving to Scarborough, a suburb of Toronto. He then travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan with his father to study religion in Kandahar, then under Taliban rule.