Accused terrorist can be extradited to U.S.
Enough evidence to proceed, judge rules
There is enough evidence to extradite an Edmonton man to the United States to face murder and terrorism charges, a Court of Queen's Bench judge in Alberta has ruled.
Sayfildin Tahir Sharif, 40, is accused of playing a role in two 2009 suicide bombings, including one that killed five American soldiers in Iraq.
In a ruling released Friday, Justice Adam Germain found that evidence gathered through wiretaps and from Sharif's computer was "highly suggestive of a conspiracy to commit murder."
The judge said he has no doubt the evidence shows Sharif was a conspirator and involved in the two bombings. The words and actions of the accused "extend far beyond religious enthusiasm or just talk," he said
Sharif's lawyer Bob Aloneissi argued the evidence — which included more than 10 hours of videotaped interviews with the FBI and RCMP — did not show his client played an active role in the attacks.
Although the judge has ruled in favour of the extradition, the final decision lies with the federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, whose decision, along with Friday's ruling, can be appealed.
Nicholson has 90 days to issue a surrender order, though the deadline can be extended.
Aloneissi will likely file an appeal. He told reporters the justice minister can also look at whether Sharif could instead be tried in Canada.
"The evidence was gathered here, clearly there's sufficient evidence to prosecute him here for the offences in Canada, so why not prosecute him in Canada?" he asked.
Sharif, who is also known as Faruq Khalil Muhammad 'Isa or Tahir Sharif Sayfildin, has been in custody since he was arrested at his Edmonton apartment in January 2011.
An ethnic Kurd born in Iraq, Sharif came to Canada in 1993, living in Toronto briefly before moving to Edmonton. He is a Canadian citizen.