Terror suspect bail decision coming Friday



An Edmonton man facing terrorism charges in the United States will learn Friday if he will be granted bail.

Sayfildin Tahir Sharif, 38, is accused of playing a role in a suicide bombing that killed five American soldiers in Iraq in April 2009.

He has been in custody since Jan. 19 when RCMP arrested him at his north Edmonton apartment on behalf of the FBI, who are seeking to have him extradited to New York State to face charges.

Sharif was charged based on evidence gathered by Canadian court-authorized wiretaps and search warrants on his phone, computer, internet and email accounts.

His lawyer, Bob Aloneissi, told Court of Queen's Bench Justice Eric Macklin in a bail hearing Wednesday his client should be granted bail as the evidence provided so far proves nothing. The recorded conversations have no context and show no wrongdoing, he argued.

Aloneissi wants the court to release Sharif on $10,000 bail and put him under house arrest, a move strongly opposed by U.S. authorities.

In a letter presented to court late Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office in eastern New York state calls Sharif a "substantial danger to the community and a very significant flight risk and should therefore be detained pending his extradition."

The letter alleges that if Sharif isn't kept in custody he will kill people in North America or continue his efforts to kill soldiers and police in Iraq.

Aloniessi said outside court the allegations in the letter have no proof.

"They're unfounded," he said. "And so the caution that I've indicated was that, in serious cases like this, we have to be careful that corners are not cut and that the rule of law is respected."
Couple was going to break-up

The court also heard testimony from Sharif's common-law wife, Cara Rain. She told the hearing she is prepared to stand by Sharif even though she had received a marriage proposal from another man and was prepared to leave him.

Under questioning by a federal lawyer, Rain admitted she and Sharif were having relationship problems in December and January due to cultural differences.

Sharif was planning to move to Toronto to stay with family, she testified. But she said she decided to stay with him, and told the court she will ensure he follows all conditions if the man she described as stable and caring is released on bail.

"He's been very supportive," she said. "He's made me feel safe."

But Crown prosecutor Jim Shaw suggested the relationship was tenuous, showing Sharif had no ties to Edmonton and could be a flight risk if he was freed on bail.

Sharif's bags were packed when he was arrested two weeks ago, the Crown said. But Aloneissi said Sharif was only going to visit family in Toronto.

Sharif is alleged to have provided support to an international terrorist group U.S. authorities believe is responsible for the bombing that killed the soldiers outside a forward operating base in Mosul on April 10, 2009.

In the complaint — filed in United States District Court of eastern New York — U.S. authorities also allege the group was responsible for the suicide bombing of a police station that killed seven Iraqis on March 31, 2009.