ALBERTA

Sayfildin Tahir Sharif Terror Charges: Albertan Faces Extradition, Accused Of Sending Cash To Holy Warriors

09/27/2012 04:38 EDT | Updated 11/27/2012 05:12 EST
CP
EDMONTON - An Alberta man facing extradition to the United States on terrorism charges told police he sent money to a group of holy warriors in the Middle East.

Sayfildin Tahir Sharif (SAY'-fill-din TA'-here SHAW'-reef) is accused of supporting a terrorist group that took part in a suicide bombing in Iraq in 2009 that killed five American soldiers.

His extradition hearing is being held in Edmonton, where he was arrest on Jan. 19, 2011.

A videotape of a police interrogation shows that Sharif told police after his arrest that he sent $2,800 to a mujahedeen group.

Sharif, who has been held in custody since his arrest, said the money was to repay a debt.

The video was shown to determine if it can be used as evidence in the hearing, which is expected to continue until at least October.

There is no publication ban on its contents.

The video shows that RCMP Cpl. Ian Ross also questioned Sharif about counselling a young woman in Morocco named Fatima over the Internet to become a suicide bomber, asking if she wanted to go to heaven and have angels all around her.

"She was saying she wanted to die, to strap on a belt (of explosives) and die for you," Ross says on the video.

Sharif says he was just showing off to get her attention and wanted to have a relationship with her, perhaps marry her. He says his comments were just talk.

"The girl is in love with me."

Ross suggests police gleaned the information from monitored Internet conversations and information from Sharif's computer, which officers seized when he was arrested.

Sharif tells police he just talks too much, didn't help anyone and doesn't believe in suicide bombers.

Sharif, an ethnic Kurd, was born in Iraq but moved to Toronto as a refugee in 1993 and became a Canadian citizen in 1997.

The FBI says he has also gone by several other names, including Faruq Khalil Muhammad'Isa and Tahir Sharif Sayfildin.

Under questioning by Ross, Sharif acknowledged that his real name is Faruq Khalil Muhammad'Isa, but that he changed it to escape a Turkish refugee camp when he was young man. Police have referred to him by Sharif and Isa.

He said he feared that using his real name again would have made it more difficult for him to immigrate to Canada.

Sharif is charged in the U.S. with conspiracy to kill Americans abroad and with providing material support to a terrorist conspiracy.

The Americans accuse him of being part of a terrorist network that helped a Tunisian man enter Iraq and drive and detonate a truck filled with explosives at a military checkpoint, killing the U.S. soldiers.

If convicted of terrorism charges in the United States, Sharif could face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.