National Post (Latest Edition)
Charged man faces extradition to U.S.
EDMONTON • An Edmonton judge ordered the extradition of a Canadian man to the United States to face charges of providing support to Islamic State fighters.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice John Little ruled Thursday that Abdullahi Ahmed Abdullahi, 33, will be sent to the United States to stand trial on charges of providing material support for terrorists and conspiracy to provide support for terrorists.
In order to rule in favour of an extradition request, a judge must find that the offence the defendant is accused of is also a crime in Canada, and must find that a reasonably instructed jury could find the defendant guilty. A judge ruling on extradition does not need to make determinations about the evidence.
Abdullahi was arrested in Fort McMurray, Alta., in September 2017, and has been held in custody since.
According to documents unsealed by a federal court in Southern California in January, Abdullahi was born in Somalia and spent time in the Minneapolis and San Diego areas before becoming a naturalized Canadian citizen.
The grand jury charge from the United States alleges that between August 2013 and November 2014 Abdullahi gave money to other men to travel to Syria to fight for the Islamic State. Four of the men were his cousins and one was a friend, according to the documents. All five died while fighting in Syria, according to documents.
Some of the money came from a 2014 Edmonton jewelry store robbery, which Abdullahi allegedly took part in with the express purpose of getting profits to fund his “coconspirators” efforts in Syria.
Abdullahi and two other men are facing criminal charges in Alberta provincial court in connection to the robbery.
During the hearing Thursday, federal Crown prosecutors Stacey Dej and Kanchana Fernando argued that evidence of Abdullahi’s activities could be found through communications saved in draft emails on an account to which several people, including Abdullahi, had access. In order to subvert the authorities, Abdullahi and others would communicate using code names and phrases to provide updates on Islamic State activities.
The United States alleges Abdullahi wrote in these draft emails using the aliases “Fish” and “Phish,” and that this is proof that he knew the money he sent was being used to support getting North American foreign fighters to Syria and aiding in the terrorist group’s efforts.
But Abdullahi’s defence lawyer, Akram Attia, called the evidence provided by two witnesses who the Crown relied on to decode the draft email system “manifestly unreliable”, arguing that the United States had failed to disclose adequate proof that met the threshold of ordering extradition.
Attia said there was no way to prove when the emails were written and who wrote them. “This is double hearsay,” he said. “I know of no case where that would be allowed in this country. I don’t think it would be allowed in the U.S. either.”