Court hears desperate plea for ransom payment
OTTAWA — After a year in captivity, Amanda Lindhout begged her mother during a frantic phone call to quickly come up with a hefty ransom because her Somalian abductors had started to torture her.
In a recording of the September 2009 call played in court Wednesday, Lindhout told her mother, Lorinda Stewart, that she had been beaten while her legs and hands were tied. And she said her captors would abuse her every day until the money was paid.
“You have to pay the money now. Where is the money?” a panicked Lindhout says. “Do you understand what they’re doing to me?”
Lindhout was a freelance journalist from Red Deer, Alta., when she and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan were seized near Mogadishu in August 2008 while working on a story. Both were released in November 2009.
Ali Omar Ader, a 40-year-old Somali national, has pleaded not guilty in Ontario Superior Court to a criminal charge of hostage-taking for his alleged role.
Upon hearing her daughter’s pleas from half a world away, Stewart tried to assure her she was doing her best to come up with the US$2 million the kidnappers were demanding for release of the pair.