Edmonton

U.S. extradition postponed for Edmonton cousin of ISIS recruits

Extradition to the United States has been postponed for a man accused of robbing an Edmonton jewelry store to finance his cousins who fought for ISIS.

Abdullahi Ahmed Abdullahi will first be tried in Edmonton for armed robbery

Abdullahi Ahmed Abdullahi is accused by U.S. authorities of providing material support to foreign fighters. (Court exhibit)

Extradition to the United States has been postponed for a man accused of robbing an Edmonton jewelry store to finance his cousins who fought for ISIS.

Abdullahi Ahmed Abdullahi will first be tried in Canada on a charge of armed robbery, a spokesperson for the federal Justice Department said on Wednesday.

That trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 13, 2020.

"The minister has ordered a postponement of Mr. Abdullahi's surrender to the United States, until he is either convicted or acquitted in relation to the Canadian criminal charges pending against him," Ian McLeod said in an email to CBC.

"Should he be convicted in Canada and sentenced to a period of custody, the surrender order will prevail over the completion of the Canadian sentence. At the completion of his U.S. proceedings and any custodial sentence he may receive if convicted in the U.S., he would be required to serve any remaining period on his Canadian sentence."

Abdullahi lost his fight against extradition at the Court of Appeal of Alberta in June. 

The Canadian citizen and former San Diego resident is charged under U.S. law with providing material support to a cluster of terrorists that included three of his cousins, also from Edmonton. It's believed they died in battle in Syria in 2014.

Abdullahi Ahmed Abdullahi is accused of robbing VJ Jewellry to fund cousins who joined ISIS. (Edmonton Police Service)

On Jan. 9, 2014, Abdullahi and two accomplices allegedly robbed a jewelry store in Mill Woods to help raise money for their circle of foreign fighters. Abdullahi is accused of wiring money to two Americans to travel overseas.

Abdullahi, 34, planned to join their ranks overseas, U.S. authorities allege.

He was arrested in Fort McMurray on Sept. 15, 2017, after U.S. authorities filed an extradition request.

'Canada's duty is to step up'

Rob Currie, a professor of law at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, said the terrorism case against Abdullahi should be prosecuted in Canada.

"As a good international citizen in the fight against terrorism, Canada's duty is to step up and prosecute our own citizens when they engage in terrorist crimes," Currie said in an interview with CBC.

"Mr. Abdullahi is a Canadian citizen. He never left Canadian territory in the entire matrix of this whole case and virtually all of it happened here. Canada is perfectly able to prosecute Mr. Abdullahi for all of the offences with which he is charged."

Currie argued a trial in Canada also makes economic sense.

"Why are the taxpayers paying for this expensive extradition process?," he asked.