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Somali guilty in Canada over kidnapping

A Somali man has been convicted in a Canadian court for his role in the kidnapping of journalist Amanda Lindhout.

Ali Omar Ader, 40, was found guilty on a charge of hostage-taking charge for his involvement as a negotiator in the kidnapping.

Ader was arrested in Ottawa in 2015 by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Ms Lindhout and Australian photojournalist Nigel Brennan were taken hostage near Mogadishu in 2008.

They were working on a story about displaced persons camps near the capital city when they were taken hostage at gunpoint.

The pair were held captive by an unidentified militant group in Somalia for 460 days before being released in November 2009.

A ransom was paid for their release.

Ms Lindhout and Mr Brennan have described having been assaulted, tortured and nearly starved during their captivity.

Prosecutors alleged that Ader was the primary negotiator for the militants who captured the pair.

Ader repeatedly pressed Ms Lindhout and Mr Brennan’s families for ransom money, the court heard.

With help from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ms Lindhout’s mother negotiated with the man police later identified as Ader.

Ader’s trial before an Ontario Superior Court judge came some seven years after the Mounties launched an operation for his capture.

An undercover Mountie leveraged Ader’s ambition to write a book on Somalia’s history to lure him to Canada under the pretence of signing a publishing contract.

Ader maintained during the trial he was coerced into being a negotiator for the militant group, a claim the judge dismissed as “completely unbelievable”, according to the CBC.

Both Ms Lindhout and Mr Brennan testified during the October trial.

Crown prosecutors told journalists on Wednesday that they believe this is the first time a foreign hostage-taking has been prosecuted in Canadian courts.

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