Abdullahi Osman was moments away from boarding a flight to Somalia when police arrested him at the gate for the May 2021 gangland killings of Ottawa brothers Abdulaziz and Mohamad Abdullah.
The brothers were gunned down in a strip mall parking lot on Alta Vista Drive in broad daylight. They were shot while in their vehicle. A third brother was also shot but survived.
Osman, 30, eluded police until Feb 12 — the day he was arrested at Pearson International Airport as he was about to board a flight for Somalia, connecting through Ethiopia.
Osman is awaiting trial for the killings, and the details about the fugitive’s arrest and travel plans — right down to an expedited passport (a three-day turnaround) — are revealed in a related case against Yusuf Hussein.
Hussein, 21, was originally charged with accessory to murder after the fact but pleaded guilty on Wednesday to lesser charges of passport fraud — notably that he applied for a passport in his name only to give it to the fugitive wanted for murder. He was also convicted of giving false statements about upcoming travel plans to expedite his passport application. He had no travel plans and only applied for a passport to give it to his associate.
When police arrested Osman at the airport, all of the fugitive’s documents were in Yusuf Hussein’s name. These documents included a Canadian passport, COVID-19 proof of vaccination and e-tickets for the flight, according to court filings read into the record at Hussein’s guilty plea.
Hussein got the expedited service after showing a bogus travel itinerary that had him flying to Istanbul in six days. Hussein admitted it was a ruse to expedite the passport application.
It worked because Hussein was issued his passport in just three days.
Days after he was issued the passport, Hussein and Osman went to a travel agency. Security video filed in court shows them buying the ticket to Somalia in Hussein’s name. Osman is seen paying for the tickets and Hussein is seen showing his passport to the travel agent. It’s the same ticket later used by Osman.
The Crown dropped the more serious charge of accessory to murder after the fact because the police investigation didn’t prove Hussein knew that Osman was leaving the country as a fugitive.
Hussein stood in court and apologized on Wednesday, saying he understands the gravity of the charges and has taken responsibility.
He asked Ontario Court Justice Mitch Hoffman for a chance, expressed remorse and said he wanted to improve himself and hopefully move to Edmonton for work.
The judge sentenced Hussein to eight months in jail but after giving him credit for pre-trial custody — including isolation and COVID-19 restrictions — he will serve another 30 days before release and will be on probation for a year.