TORONTO – TORONTO (AP) — A Canadian indicted in the U.S. on charges he supplied al-Qaida with weapons was freed Wednesday after more than four years in jail after a judge refused to extradite him to the United States.
Abdullah Khadr, 29, has been held in Canada on a U.S. warrant since his December 2005 arrest. He is wanted in the U.S. for allegedly purchasing weapons for al-Qaida and plotting to kill Americans abroad.
The U.S. case against Khadr relied on a statement he made to the FBI and Canadian police in Pakistan, and information he gave when he arrived in Toronto in December 2005. Khadr's lawyers argued the statements made in Pakistan were the result of torture.
Superior Court Justice Christopher Speyer ruled that the self-incriminating statement was "manifestly unreliable."
Khadr said outside court Wednesday that he couldn't believe he was released.
"I think this is going to be a new beginning for me in life," Khadr said. "I want to just start anew now."
Khadr's father, Ahmed Said Khadr, was an alleged al-Qaida militant and financier, killed in 2003 when a Pakistani military helicopter shelled the house where he was staying with some senior al-Qaida operatives.
Another of Khadr's brothers, Abdurahman Khadr, has acknowledged that their Egyptian-born father and some of his brothers fought for al-Qaida and had stayed with Osama bin Laden.
The CIA paid Pakistani authorities a US$500,000 bounty to detain Abdullah Khadr in October 2004. The U.S. alleges Abdullah Khadr bought AK-47 and mortar rounds, rocket-propelled grenades and containers of mine components for al-Qaida for use against coalition forces in Afghanistan. He allegedly bought the weapons at the request of his father, authorities said.
After Pakistani intelligence officers detained Abdullah Khadr in 2004, he was returned to Canada in 2005. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested him at the request of the U.S.
Canada's Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says the government would study the ruling closely before deciding whether to appeal.