The man charged with holding Amanda Lindhout hostage in Somalia for 460 days has been found guilty, nearly nine years after the Canadian journalist was kidnapped.

Ali Omar Ader, a 40-year-old Somali national, was found guilty on one charge of hostage-taking for his role as a negotiator.

In a 24-page ruling, Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Smith found Ader's defence — that he was forced to act as main negotiator in the hostage-taking — was "completely unbelievable" and concocted. 

Lindhout, a freelance journalist, and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan were grabbed by masked gunmen near strife-ridden Mogadishu in August 2008. Lindhout was 21 at the time.

Lindhout and Brennan were released on Nov. 25, 2009.

Ali Omar Ader courtroom

Ali Omar Ader, a Somali national arrested by RCMP in Ottawa in 2015, is seen here in a courtroom sketch. (Greg Banning)

The Crown's case was built largely on a series of covertly recorded conversations Ader had with an undercover RCMP officer who was posing as a book agent. Over years of correspondence, and a face-to-face meeting on the African island of Mauritius, Ader told the police officer, who can only be identified as A.K., that he volunteered to work as a negotiator.

Ader flew to Canada in 2015, lured by the pretense of a phony book deal, and the RCMP arrested him in Ottawa.

He twice told the undercover officer he received $10,000 US in ransom money.

Ader later testified that he lied because he wanted to become an author.

In the recorded sting video, Ader also acknowledged being paid for helping the shadowy group of armed kidnappers.

Once in the witness box, he told the court he did not voluntarily act as a ransom negotiator, but rather was pressed into service at gunpoint as a translator and was held captive himself.

Under cross-examination, Ader conceded he wasn't much of prisoner as he was able to leave the apartment he shared with his supposed captors, dining at restaurants, and working as a travel agent outside the home.

The Crown dismissed much of what the man said in court as "flagrant lies," concocted in an attempt to diminish his real involvement in the kidnapping.

Lindhout testified that she was repeatedly sexually assaulted and beaten while being held captive.

"Basically they saw me as a piece of property that they owned," she told the court in October.

With files from The Canadian Press Articled from the CBC RSS Syndication CBC.ca - RSS Feeds Copyright is that of their respective owners (CBC).


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