Abdullah Khadr

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Abdullah Ahmed Khadr
Abdullah Khadr as youth.png
Born April 30, 1981
Nationality Canadian
Home town Toronto, Canada & Peshawar, Pakistan
Religion Islam
Parent(s) Ahmed Khadr
Maha el-Samnah

Abdullah Ahmed Khadr (in Arabic عبدالله أحمد خضر) (born April 30, 1981) is a Canadian citizen who is the oldest son of the late Ahmed Khadr, alleged to be a terrorist and al-Qaeda member. Khadr has admitted buying weapons for al-Qaeda, but maintains that he was on friendly terms with its leaders due to his father's prominence in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and was not a member.

He was arrested in Pakistan in 2004 and returned to Canada in December 2005. He fought a lengthy case resisting extradition to the United States, which was finally concluded by an appeal to the highest court in Ontario; the judges unanimously decided in October 2011 in favor of the lower court to refuse the extradition request.

The family grew up mostly in Pakistan after 1985, where their father worked for charities aiding Afghani refugees. Abdullah and his brothers did some arms training there. His youngest brother, Omar Khadr, was captured by United States forces at the age of 15 in Afghanistan in 2002. In October 2010 he pleaded guilty in October 2010 in a plea agreement to war crimes before the Guantanamo military commission after being held there since 2002.

Abdullah Khadr has said that he would "be the first one to stop" any potential attacks against Canada.[1] In 2010 he became engaged to be married, at the age of 29.

Early life and education[edit]

He was born in 1981 in Ottawa, Canada as the second child and first son to Ahmed Khadr and his wife Maha el-Samnah, when his father was still in graduate school in computer science. As a child, Abdullah claimed his vision of Jannah (paradise) involved fast cars.[2] He was the oldest of five boys, and had two sisters, one older and one much younger.

With his family, he moved to Pakistan in 1985, where he largely grew up, although the family frequently returned to Canada to see grandparents and other relatives. He and his siblings went to local schools and were also home-schooled by their mother.

In 1994, he was sent to Khalden training camp along with his younger brother Abdurahman, where he was given the alias Hamza.[2] Omar Nasiri later claimed to have met Abdullah in the camp's infirmary, where he had told Nasiri about seeing Afghans in Khost blown apart while trying to salvage an unexploded bomb. Abdullah did not remember the encounter.[2] The two brothers fought constantly at the camp; one day their argument became so heated that they pointed guns at each other, screaming, before a trainer stepped between them.[3] In 1997, a dispute between the brothers was mediated by the older Abu Laith al-Libi, who earned their confidence and respect by telling them about the city of Dubai and imported Ferrari cars. He was later described as "really cool" by Abdurahman.[2]

As the oldest son, after becoming old enough to drive, Abdullah often drove his father around Pakistan for his work; he was severely injured in an accident in 1992.[2] In 2000, Khadr allegedly had contact with a "high level member of al-Qaeda" who took the 19-year old with him to purchase weapons for fighting against the Northern Alliance militants and supplying an Afghan training camp.[4]

Following the American invasion of Afghanistan in the fall of 2001, the family split up. Their mother took Omar, the youngest son, and her youngest daughter with her into the mountains in Waziristan, as they wanted to be further from potential targets for US bombing.

In 2002, Zaynab took her younger brother Abdulkareem to Lahore with her while seeking medical aid for her two-year-old daughter Saferai. The siblings were later joined by Abdullah, who required surgery on his nose.[2]

A Taliban spokesman said that the January 26, 2004 suicide bomber who killed Cpl. Jamie Murphy in Kabul was "Mohammed", the son of a Canadian supposedly named Abdulrahman Khadr. The similar names led some to speculate it had been Abdullah, the only son of the family whose whereabouts were unknown at the time.[5] DNA samples from the bomber later proved it wasn't Khadr.[6]

When interviewed for the 2004 documentary Son of al Qaeda, shown on PBS in the United States, Khadr acknowledged attending the Khalden training camp as a youth. But he said that a ten-year-old learning to fire an AK47 was as common in Afghanistan then as it was for a Canadian child to learn to play hockey.[7] Richard J. Griffin, Assistant Secretary of State (Diplomatic Security) for the United States beginning in 2005 later called Khadr "one of the world's most dangerous men."[8]

Time in Pakistan[edit]

United States officials alleged that in 2003, his father Ahmed Khadr was asked to organise militants operating near the border of Shagai, Pakistan, and subsequently asked the 22-year-old Abdullah Khadr to help him procure weapons, due to his experience several years earlier.[4] Allegedly, Khadr procured weapons for his father, and became an arms dealer, selling weapons to other militants and earning about $5000 in profit[4] on the transactions. They involved approximately $20,000 worth of mortar rounds, landmines, grenades and AK-47 ammunition.[1][9] After his father was killed on the border by Pakistani security forces in October 2003, Abdullah allegedly continued his trade in weapons.[4]

Khadr also allegedly read the instruction manual for a GPS unit to determine its operation for militant friends in Pakistan, who wanted to measure the distance between a local graveyard and a house Khadr believed to belong to Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. The house was that of President Pervez Musharraf, and Khadr's friends were later arrested near the graveyard.[10]

He is alleged to have purchased a forged Pakistani passport for 30,000 rupees ($600), and to have given it to his sister Zaynab for safekeeping.[11][12]

In October 2004, he was allegedly purchasing five Soviet 9K38 Igla Surface-to-air missiles for $1000 apiece from a 29-year-old Pakistani member of Lakshar e-Taiba. He offered to split the profit upon selling the weapons for $5000 apiece to the same man who had taught him how to acquire munitions in 2000.[4][10]


In 2008 under a court ruling, it was revealed that in 2004, an "American intelligence agency" classed Khadr as a threat, and offered a $500,000 bounty for his capture.[13] Khadr was arrested in Pakistan on October 15, 2004.[14] Four days after his capture, "agents of the United States", including an FBI agent, visited the "quasi-prison"[15] to interview Khadr. The visits continued for seventeen days.[15]

The Canadian government learned of his capture in November 2004,[14] Details of the bounty on Khadr were initially hidden from the public, under claims it would threaten national security to admit the fact. In 2007 a Canadian October 19, 2004 memo describing the bounty was accidentally released. Reporters were warned not to publish the information, and the Globe and Mail newspaper took the government to court to fight the secrecy order.[13] Justice Richard Mosley ruled that the information could be made public in May 2008, stating, "the fact that a foreign state paid a bounty for the apprehension of a Canadian citizen abroad and that Canadian officials were aware of it at an early state is also a matter in which the public would have a legitimate interest."[13]

Pakistan allegedly offered to repatriate Khadr to Canada several weeks after his arrest, but Canadian officials refused. They suggested that Pakistan look into turning him over to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) instead.[14]

In April 2005, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arranged for officers from Project A-O, including Richard Jenkins,[16] to fly to Pakistan to question Khadr for three days, ostensibly to prove that they were a "self-sufficient intelligence agency".[15]

Khadr said that when he was about 14-years old, his father had purchased two pairs of walkie talkies from Abdullah Almalki, although his lawyers later argued the statement had been made due to his mistreatment by Pakistani officials.[17] He was also questioned about Amer el-Maati, who he said had worked as a carpet salesman after al-Qaeda had refused to grant him a pension following a brain injury stemming from a 1992 car accident.[1] Asked about Mahmoud Jaballah, Khadr said he knew him only as an Arabic tutor in Peshawar who went by the patronymic Abu Ahmed.[1] Asked about the Toronto Imam Aly Hindy, Khadr said that Hindy's son Ibrahim had briefly attended the Musab al-Surri Afghan training camp several years prior to 9/11,[1] which Hindy has spoken about himself.[18] The RCMP later concluded that it was unlikely they could prosecute Khadr under Canadian law, since any statements made following "mistreatment" by Pakistani officials would not be considered valid in Canadian courts.[15]

In June 2005, Canadian officials believed that negotiations with Pakistan to extradite had succeeded. They removed Khadr from no-fly lists, hired guards to escort him, and issued Khadr an emergency passport, no. EC016094.[15] He was scheduled to fly to Canada aboard a British Airways flight from Islamabad, scheduled to land in Toronto at 18:00, June 15, 2005.[15] Canadian consular officials were "mystified" when he was not at the airport. It sent a note to the Foreign Affairs office stating, "Given subj[ect] is now not returning to Cda, grateful mission wld ask Pakistani authorities what happened, where he is, which authority is holding him, etc. etc, and a new consular visit asap".[15]

In July, the FBI agent Gregory T. Hughes and Diplomatic Security Service agent Galen J. Nace interrogated Khadr for three days, who was still held in Pakistan. On each day, Khadr waived any Miranda rights and agreed to speak with them.[4] He repeated his earlier confession regarding his alleged training in Khalden, and purchasing munitions for the same "high level member of al-Qaeda" he had worked with in 2000.[4]

Pakistan refused to transfer Khadr to the United States, insisting he should be returned to Canada.[11] On November 23, 2005, a Boston court accepted the prosecutor James B. Farmer's request for a request to extradite Khadr from Canada. Eight days later the Canadian government agreed to accept Khadr from Pakistan. The timing led critics to speculate that Canada was helping the United States get around Pakistan's refusal to transfer Khadr to American forces.[16][19]

Return to Canada and extradition request[edit]

Abdullah Khadr returned to Canada on December 2, 2005 accompanied by two officials from the Foreign Affairs department. They were met by RCMP officer Konrad Shourie and others, who interviewed him for two and a half hours.[20] Two days later, Khadr agreed to another interview with FBI agents in the presence of Shourie.[10][11][16][21] Court documents confirmed that he and his sister Zaynab Khadr were both under investigation by the RCMP for terrorism-related offences.[2] Commentators expressed confusion about why they had not been charged with criminal offenses under Canadian law.[22] During his sixteen days of freedom in Canada, Khadr was under constant RCMP surveillance.[20]

On December 17, 2005 Khadr was phoned by the Canadian police and asked to meet them at a nearby McDonalds' restaurant. When he arrived, he was arrested based on the Boston extradition order. The RCMP insisted the arrest "had nothing to do with" Canadian police.[19][23] His mother was also arrested after she hit a police officer present, while his brother Abdurahman Khadr took photos of the arrest with his camera phone.[23]

The next day, Prime Minister Paul Martin spoke at length about Abdullah Khadr and other members of his family. He reiterated that there was only one kind of Canadian citizenship, and that Abdullah Khadr, and the other members of his family were as entitled to all the legal protections as any other citizen. [24]

Khadr was denied bail five days later by Justice Anne Molloy of Ontario's Superior Court of Justice.[25] He was represented by Nathan Whitling, Dennis Edney and James Silver.[20][26] He wore a black T-shirt reading "For the Future of Islam." His maternal grandmother Fatmah el-Samnah offered to act as his surety, putting up her $300,000 house as collateral. The motion for bail was opposed by the prosecutor Robin Parker, who referred to United States claims that the forged passport Khadr had purchased in Pakistan was to allow him to travel to a country without an extradition treaty with the United States,[12] Khadr's lawyers tried to have a publication ban bar media from reporting on the bail hearing. Prosecutor Robin Parker opposed this request, citing the open courts principle. Justice Molloy refused to order the publication ban, and ultimately denied bail. She found there was an unacceptable risk that Khadr would flee, and also that the public confidence in the administration of justice would be undermined were she to grant Khadr bail. A second application for bail, brought before Justice Gary Trotter, was also refused.

On May 22, 2006, Khadr was involved in a brawl with another inmate at Toronto West Detention Centre over telephone privileges.[27] He appeared in court shortly afterwards, where he was represented by the attorney James Silver. His extradition hearing was set to begin October 30.[27]

On April 7, 2008, Khadr appeared in a Toronto court to argue against extradition to the United States. He alleged that his confessions in Pakistan were obtained through torture.[28] The government had classified evidence which was not shown to the public, but was shared with both Khadr and his lawyers; the judge Richard Mosley wrote a private summary of the information it contained. Khadr argued that the evidence was what he had said to convince Pakistani interrogators to stop torturing him.[29]

On October 5, 2009 Khadr testified about his capture and treatment in Pakistan.[30][31][32] Colin Freeze, writing in the Globe and Mail about Khadr's claims of torture, reported: "Ultimately, the judge will decide how to square Mr. Khadr's alleged admissions with such legal principles as the right to remain silent and the right to counsel, in determining whether any of his statements ought to count at all." Isabel Teotonio, writing in the Toronto Star, reported that Khadr testified that he was beaten and "penetrated" by a rubber paddle during the fourteen months he spent in Pakistani extrajudicial detention.[32]

Following final arguments regarding the USA's request to extradite Khadr on April 7, 8 and 9, 2010,[33] the Ontario Superior Court Justice Christopher Speyer denied the extradition request on August 4, 2010. Abdullah Khadr was set free after 4½ years.[34] Khadr told reporters after his release.“I think this is going to be a new beginning for me in life.”[35][36][37]

Michelle Shephard, the Toronto Star's national security expert, reported that Speyer's ruling was 62 pages long.[35] According to Shephard, Speyer criticised the $500,000 bounty offered by the US, and the abuse Khadr suffered in Pakistan. The justice wrote: “the rule of law must prevail over intelligence objectives.”[35]

Dennis Edney, one of Abdullah's lawyers, said, “When a U.S. government or any foreign government steps into a Canadian court they have to arrive with clean hands.”[35]

According to his attorney Nathan Whitling, Khadr is engaged to be married.[36]


The Attorney General of Canada initiated an appeal on behalf of the USA before the Ontario Court of Appeal.[38] The appeals court stood by the lower court's decision that Khadr should not be extradited on May 6, 2011. The highest court in Ontario confirmed unanimously in a 3-0 ruling, the original judge's decision to deny the extradition request.[39]

The Federal government tried to initiate an appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada.[40] On November 3, 2011, the Supreme Court announced they would not review the US request to extradite Khadr.


  1. ^ a b c d Freeze, Colin. Globe and Mail, "I only buy and sell weapons for al-Qaeda", November 3, 2006
  2. ^ a b c d e f Shephard, Michelle (2008). Guantanamo's Child. John Wiley & Sons. 
  3. ^ Nasiri, Omar. Inside the Jihad: My Life with al Qaeda, a Spy's Story, 2006
  4. ^ a b c d e f g http://nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/FeaturedDocs/U.S._v_Khadr_FBIAff.pdf
  5. ^ "Khadr says his brother was not the Kabul bomber". CTV News. February 6, 2004. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  6. ^ DNA "DNA of Kabul bomber sent to Canada for analysis". CTV News. February 18, 2004. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  7. ^ http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/khadr/view/
  8. ^ http://www.state.gov/m/ds/rls/rm/84361.htm
  9. ^ "Canadian Accused of Buying Munitions for Al-Qaeda". Bloomberg. December 18, 2005. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  10. ^ a b c "Khadr helped al-Qaeda with GPS". nationalpost.com. 
  11. ^ a b c Dimanno, Rosie. Toronto Star, "'Al-Qaeda family' in court", December 23, 2005
  12. ^ a b "Fake passport khadr's plan to avoid U.S. Justice". nationalpost.com. 
  13. ^ a b c Colin Freeze (May 12, 2008). "U.S. paid bounty for Khadr arrest in Pakistan". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2008-05-11. An American intelligence agency paid a bounty of $500,000 (U.S.) to the Pakistani military to arrest a Canadian citizen, according to a federal Court ruling made public Monday afternoon. 
  14. ^ a b c Shephard, Michelle, Toronto Star, "Canada's Role in Terror Case is Questioned", January 21, 2005
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Freeze, Colin. Globe and Mail, "Pakistan frustrated plan to bring Khadr home", May 14, 2008
  16. ^ a b c Michael Friscolanti. National Post, "U.S. sought Khadr before his arrival in Canada -- Pakistan refused to put suspect in U.S. custody", December 20, 2005
  17. ^ Freeze, Colin. Globe and Mail, "Documents tie Khadr to tortured pair", November 3, 2006
  18. ^ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080423.BAIL23/TPStory/
  19. ^ a b http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2005/12/19/abdullah-khadr-051219.html?ref=rss
  20. ^ a b c Molloy, Anne. "Ruling against Abdullah Khadr's Application for Bail," January 13, 2006
  21. ^ "Abdullah Khadr now a free man in Toronto". CBC. December 7, 2005. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  22. ^ "The puzzling case of Abdullah Khadr: Terror suspect awaits decision on extradition to U.S. But why didn't Canada charge him first?". Toronto Star. December 7, 2005. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  23. ^ a b Shephard, Michelle, Toronto Star. "Mounties arrest Abdullah Khadr", December 17, 2005
  24. ^ "Bail hearing for alleged terrorist on Monday". CTV News. December 18, 2005. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  25. ^ "'Have sympathy for us,' mother asks". nationalpost.com. 
  26. ^ Levy, Harold. Toronto Star, "Khadr loses bid to ban coverage of bail hearing", December 23, 2004
  27. ^ a b "Extradition hearing set for accused terrorist". nationalpost.com. 
  28. ^ http://lfpress.ca/newsstand/News/National/2008/04/08/5224331-sun.html
  29. ^ "Crown pressing to keep Abdullah Khadr extradition material secret". Canadian Press. June 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-17.  mirror
  30. ^ "Eldest Khadr faces extradition hearing". CBC News. 2009-10-05. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  31. ^ Colin Freeze (2009-10-05). "First member of Khadr clan testifies today". Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2009-10-05. Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  32. ^ a b Isabel Teotonio (2009-10-05). "'A grenade launcher in every house': Fighting extradition to the U.S., Canadian Abdullah Khadr testifies that when you go fishing in Afghanistan, you do it with a bomb". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 
  33. ^ Noor Javed (2010-01-25). "Final arguments in Abdullah Khadr extradition set for April". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2010-01-29. 
  34. ^ Michelle Shephard (2010-08-04). "Court rejects Abdullah Khadr extradition request". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-08-04. 
  35. ^ a b c d Michelle Shephard (2010-08-04). "Court rejects Abdullah Khadr extradition request". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-08-04. Extradition orders to the U.S. are rarely denied, but Superior Court Justice Christopher Speyer ruled Wednesday that “this was an exceptional case on many levels.”  mirror
  36. ^ a b Linda Nguyen (2010-08-04). "Court frees Abdullah Khadr, turns down U.S. extradition request". National Post. Retrieved 2010-08-04. “He’s getting married. He’s engaged,” said Mr. Whitling. “He just wants to settle down and live a quiet life.”  mirror
  37. ^ "Abdullah Khadr released after court ruling: Ontario judge denies U.S. extradition request". CBC News. 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2010-08-05. On Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Christopher Speyer granted a stay of proceedings in his case — effectively shelving it, meaning the extradition request was denied. Khadr, 29, was then released from custody. 
  38. ^ "Abdullah Khadr extradition ruling upheld". CBC News. 2011-05-06. Retrieved 2012-04-22. The Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld a decision to stay extradition proceedings against admitted al-Qaeda collaborator Abdullah Khadr. 
  39. ^ http://www.canada.com/Ontario+court+dismisses+Khadr+case/4743584/story.html
  40. ^ "SCC won't hear extradition case of Abdullah Khadr". CTV News. 2011-11-03. Retrieved 2012-04-22. The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed the federal government's leave-to-appeal application for Khadr, who is the older brother of Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr. The Thursday decision blocks the Ottawa-born man from being extradited to the United States.