OTTAWA, May 13: Court documents made public here show a US intelligence agency paid a bounty of $500,000 to Pakistani military officials who arrested a Canadian citizen wanted for links with Al Qaeda, according to a newspaper report.
The Globe & Mail report said the American intelligence agency had classed Abdullah Khadr, who was raised in Afghanistan, as a national security threat, and had offered a $500,000 reward for his arrest.
Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley ruled that the information which Khadr wanted to use to fight his extradition to the United States from Canada, could be publicly disclosed. Khadr was arrested in Pakistan in 2004 and sent back to Canada in 2005. Canada detained him in December 2005 and since February 2006 the United States has been seeking his extradition on charges that he sold rockets and other weapons to Al Qaeda and conspired to kill Americans in Afghanistan.
The Globe and Mail had obtained official documents about the bounty more than a year ago but chose not to publish it after Crown lawyers warned that the release of the information could illegally reveal a state secret.
The newspaper fought for its disclosure and won the battle. The Federal Court ruling said: “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 stage is also a matter in which the public would have a legitimate interest.”
During the proceedings, the newspaper’s lawyer Peter Jacobsen argued that bounty hunting was apparently a growing industry in Pakistan. In arguments to force the release of information that the United States paid $500,000 for Khadr’s capture, Jacobsen filed excerpts of the autobiography of President Pervez Musharraf, who claims Islamabad has reaped tens of millions of dollars from the United States for arresting hundreds of Al Qaeda suspects. Mr Musharraf cites the following cases: Abu Zubaydah, alleged training-camp emir, $5 million (US); Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, admitted 9/11 mastermind, bounty unspecified; Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, alleged computer expert, bounty unspecified; Abu Faraj al-Libbi, alleged senior official, bounty unspecified; Abu Talha al-Sudani, alleged explosives expert, $5 million.
Khadr is the eldest son of Egypt-born Ahmed Said Khadr, who moved to Canada in 1977.
Accused of being a founding member of Al Qaeda and financier for the organisation, Said was reportedly killed in a shootout with Pakistani forces near the Afghanistan border.