An extradition hearing for an Edmonton man accused of playing a role in a bombing that killed five American soldiers began today and is to continue all week.
Sayfildin Tahir Sharif, a Canadian citizen, faces charges of aiding in the murder of five soldiers who were slain on April 10, 2009, when a truck filled with explosives blew up near the gate of Forward Operating Base Marez in Mosul, Iraq.
Sharif, who has been in custody at the Edmonton Remand Centre for nearly two years, is also charged with conspiring to kill Americans abroad and providing material support to a terrorist conspiracy.
Video footage played in court in the afternoon showed Sharif being questioned by U.S. investigators.
At one point, Sharif expresses concern about the situation.
"This is really scary," he says. An FBI agent responds, "We're very gentle. We make friends, not enemies."
Earlier in the morning, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Adam Germaine listened to an audio tape from the morning of Sharif's arrest and interrogation by Mounties.
"It's probably somewhat of a shock and surprise you're being arrested," an RCMP officer says on the tape.
In the recording, Sharif responds sounding confused.
"Are you sure you guys are not making a mistake? I don't go anywhere. I talk to nobody. Is this Candid Camera?" he asks.
A Mountie assures him, "This is not Candid Camera."
The tapes are part of a voir dire, a trial within a trial, in which the judge must decide on their admissibility to the extradition hearing itself.
The Crown must prove that statements Sharif made to Canadian and American authorities were voluntary and not coerced.
The court will watch two lengthy videotaped interviews during the voir dire.
Justice Germain also indicated to the court that the defence plans to launch charter challenges during the hearing, which is expected to last all week.
Sharif is also known as Faruq Khalil Muhammad 'Isa or Tahir Sharif Sayfildin, according to U.S. authorities.
Sharif is an ethnic Kurd who was born in Iraq. He came to Canada in 1993, living in Toronto briefly before moving to Edmonton.