Amanda Lindhout speaks out on arrest of Somali man accused in her kidnapping
KELLY SCHOVANEK FOR THE TORONTO STAR
Amanda Lindhout, near her home in Alberta, tells the Star she never thought she would ever again see the face of the man accused of leading the Somali gang that kidnapped her in 2008.
During 460 harrowing days in captivity in Somalia, Amanda Lindhout says one of the kidnappers whom she knew only as “Adam” directed much of the torture she endured, watching impassively as a serrated knife was held to her throat, and terrorizing her mother with ransom demands.
When she was released in 2009, she thought she would never see his face again.
But on Friday — her 34th birthday — the RCMP announced an Ottawa arrest in her kidnapping case and released the photo of suspect Ali Omar Ader.
Lindhout said seeing Ader’s image online “literally took my breath away.”
She alleges he is the man who introduced himself as “the commander” of the group that kidnapped her and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan near Mogadishu and whom she knew only as “Adam.”
“Just seeing his face again for me brings back real, true, hard memories of that time in my life,” Lindhout told the Star on Sunday. “Seeing his image has just been haunting me … I’ve spent a lot of time with my mom over the last couple of days and this has been very emotional for her too. She has shed a lot of tears.”
The RCMP have arrested and charged a Somalian man in relation to the 2008 kidnapping of Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout near Mogadishu. RCMP Asst. Commissioner James Malizia says the investigation was ‘extremely complex.’
Lindhout says she welcomes her day in court, where she says she will try to make the accused understand “the specific ways in which his decisions really hurt me.”
While she is thankful that one of her alleged kidnappers may be brought to justice, the prospect of a trial leaves her anxious, fearful about what will be revealed.
Lindhout, with New York Times Magazine contributor Sara Corbett, wrote a bestselling and heart-wrenching account of her captivity, describing how she was raped, beaten, starved and tortured.
But she says what she included in A House in the Sky was her decision.
“It’s a matter of maintaining my dignity,” she said Sunday. “Sara and I, in a really thoughtful way, went over that experience and wrote it in a way that people could understand how bad it was. But I felt it was still dignified. With a trial, I really have no control over what will be used in evidence that will showcase how terrible things were for me.”
She worries that the recorded conversations she had with her mother — some made as she was being abused — could become public at a trial.