Alleged Egyptian Al-Qaeda gunrunner's extradition hearing kicks off

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TORONTO: A brother of Guantanamo inmate Omar Khadr testified Monday at a hearing into whether he should be extradited to the United States to face charges of being an Al-Qaeda gun-runner.

Besides being the brother of the Guantanamo detainee, Khadr is also the eldest son of Al-Qaeda financier Ahmed Said Khadr who was known to cohorts as the Canadian before his death in a shootout with Pakistan troops.

Arrested here in 2005 after being repatriated from Pakistan, Khadr faces extradition to the United States to face charges of being an Al-Qaeda gunrunner.

Testifying in his own defense Monday, Khadr told the court he suffered severe mental and physical harm at the hands of jailers in Pakistan after first being arrested in 2004 on a 500,000-dollar US bounty.

He said his affidavit may sometimes contradict his testimony because it was tainted by torture, but he has since instructed his lawyers to correct errors in the document.

Held in a secret safe-house and grilled by Canadian and US agents in 2004 before being repatriated to Canada one year later, Abdullah Khadr is said to have attended an Al-Qaeda training camp at age 14.

He was also allegedly directed by his father, an Egyptian-born engineer who immigrated to Canada before uprooting his family to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, to obtain weapons for Arab fighters.

The United States claims he sold 20,000 dollars worth of bomb chemicals, mortars and ammunition for assault rifles to Al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan.

According to a transcript of his interrogation abroad, filed with the court, he replied when asked if he was a member of Al-Qaeda: No. I only buy and sell weapons for Al-Qaeda.

His family currently lives in Toronto, but since their father s death in 2003, his sister Zaynab has been investigated for alleged ties to Al-Qaeda.

Another brother, Abdurahman, has also admitted on Canadian television that the family knew Osama bin Laden and that he and some of his siblings were trained by Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

I was raised to become a suicide bomber. I was raised to become a bad person, said Abdurahman, a self-described black sheep of the family who also claimed he became a CIA mole after his 2001 capture.

Abdullah Khadr s extradition hearing is expected to continue for several weeks. -AFP

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