RCMP had no grounds to arrest Abdullah Khadr: officer
Pakistani authorities were willing to release Abdullah Khadr into Canadian custody months before they finally let him go, a senior RCMP officer testified Wednesday.
However, Det.-Insp. Konrad Shourie said there were no grounds to arrest the Canadian citizen, so Khadr remained in Pakistani detention until he was finally released without charge in December 2005.
"The Pakistanis believed we could just arrest him [but] that wasn't the case," Shourie told Khadr's extradition hearing.
"The Pakistanis were saying, 'You can have him if you place him in custody.' We couldn't do that."
The Toronto-born Khadr is fighting extradition to the United States, which wants to try him for plotting to kill Americans and buying weapons for al-Qaida.
Court also heard that Pakistan was again poised to let Khadr go in June 2005, with Canada's spy agency ready to facilitate his return, but American authorities stepped in and blocked his release.
Shourie testified there were "several false starts and stops" regarding Khadr's release, including the one in June, but said he didn't know the details.
Khadr argues that self-incriminating statements he gave to Canadian and American authorities should be discounted because he was tortured during his 14 months in Pakistani custody.
Shourie, who travelled to Islamabad to interview Khadr over three days in April 2005, was adamant Khadr never said anything about being abused.
"There was nothing to indicate he'd been mistreated," the officer said.
Khadr also never mentioned any abuse when he "willingly" spoke to Shourie at the airport in Toronto after the Pakistanis released him and he returned to Canada at the end of 2005, he added.
Shourie testified that Khadr did say he had sustained an ear injury during his arrest in Pakistan in October 2004 and had had a "few sleepless nights" but never talked about being abused or tortured. Those allegations surfaced only after Khadr had gone home to his family, the detective said.
Khadr and his younger brother Omar, who remains in custody in Guantanamo Bay on charges he killed an American soldier in Afghanistan, are sons of Ahmed Said Khadr, a close associate of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.
The Egyptian-born Khadr patriarch, who became a Canadian citizen, was killed in 2003 during a raid by Pakistani forces.
The agent also said he had no concerns the Americans had offered Pakistan a $500,000 bounty for Khadr's arrest. Shourie told Justice Christopher Speyer that the Americans routinely offered such rewards, so it came as no surprise.
The Pakistanis were investigating Khadr for a plot to assassinate the country's prime minister, Shourie said, although he was never charged.
Shourie, a Toronto-based member of the Mounties' national security team, was the RCMP's lead investigator on the Khadr file.