Canada court says U.S. likely paid bounty on suspect

Mon May 12, 2008 9:58pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian Federal Court said on Monday that Pakistan appears to have received a $500,000 bounty from the United States for the capture of Abdullah Khadr, a Canadian wanted on charges of working with al Qaeda against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley issued a decision that the information, which Khadr wants to use to fight his extradition to the United States from Canada, can 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 sought his extradition on charges that he sold rockets and other weapons to al Qaeda and conspired to kill Americans in Afghanistan.

Khadr says he was tortured and detained illegally in Pakistan and statements he gave should be excluded.

"He seeks to corroborate his allegations that agents of the United States were behind his capture and detention in Pakistan and complicit in any abuse that he suffered during his detention there," Mosley said.

Abdullah Khadr is the eldest son of Ahmed Said Khadr, a friend of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and alleged al Qaeda financier, who was killed in a 2003 gun battle in Pakistan.

Abdullah Khadr's brother, Omar, is the only Canadian prisoner being held at the U.S. detention camp for terrorism suspect in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Canadian government is facing increasing domestic and international calls to press the U.S. government for his release.

The United States government's bounty program has been well publicized. It began in the 1980s and was strengthened after the September 11 attacks in 2001.

"The general practice is in the public domain," Mosley said in justifying his decision to release the news. He said it was clear that Canadian officials had been told that a bounty had been paid after Abdullah Khadr's capture.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer and David Ljunggren; editing by Chris Wilson)