Canadian Abdullah Khadr has been formally indicted in Boston on four terrorism-related charges, including conspiring to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan.
Mr. Khadr, 24, returned to Ontario last December after spending most of his life in Central Asia. He told reporters then that he had never been part of al-Qaeda but now he faces extradition to the United States on charges that could jail him for the rest of his life.
Prosecutors said yesterday that, beyond the charge of conspiracy to kill American soldiers, a federal grand jury had indicted the Canadian citizen on charges of possession of and conspiracy to possess munitions, and possession of "one or more grenades, rockets, missiles, and mines" -- devices the prosecutors characterized as weapons of mass destruction.
U.S. Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales said in a statement that the indictment is evidence that his country's efforts against terrorists "transcend all borders." If convicted of all charges, Mr. Khadr could be sent to prison for life plus 30 years and could be hit with a $1-million (U.S.) fine.
When they sought Mr. Khadr's arrest in December, U.S. authorities said that he had admitted his guilt to anti-terrorism agents. But Mr. Khadr told of a harrowing ordeal in Pakistan, where he said he spent 14 months in custody being questioned and abused. His lawyers argue that any statements made under torture would be inadmissible in North American courts.
Mr. Khadr, who has been in custody in Toronto almost since his return, moved with his family to Afghanistan in the 1980s so they could be reared in an Islamic state. Family members say they were there to do charity work for orphans of the war against the Soviet occupiers. The family fled to Pakistan from Afghanistan after the 2001 U.S. invasion.
Mr. Khadr's father was killed in a clash with Pakistani security agents and his younger brother, Omar, is being held in the American penal camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.