A kidnapping victim described in court Friday being threatened with torture and death as his captors demanded that he repay hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Suliamen Safi, 31, told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bruce that he was made to wear a ski mask and was zap-strapped to a chair in a small windowless room after being driven there from a restaurant in Vancouver.
Safi said at one point, one of his captors started talking to him in a loud angry voice.
“He said, ‘Listen this is not a joke. You have to come up with the money now or you’re going to get hurt.’”
The man began talking to a second kidnapper about chopping off the victim’s fingers, said Safi.
But instead, Safi said his captor brought out a Glock handgun and pressed it to his head, pressing it between his eyes.
“He said, ‘This is not a joke’ . . . ,” said Safi. “’These guys want the money now or you’re going to die today.’
“He pressed the gun hard on to my forehead.”
Safi — who is serving an 81-month jail sentence for drug trafficking in California — testified by video Friday at the trial of former North Vancouver Realtor Nazfar Mirhadi and six co-accused, who are charged of kidnapping Safi after a money-laundering deal fell apart.
Earlier in the trial, Crown counsel Sandra Dworkin described Mirhadi as being at the centre of the kidnapping plot. Mirhadi first met Safi to discuss financing of real estate properties. But soon they were discussing a plan to launder $400,000 for one of Mirhadi’s associates, said the prosecutor. After most of that cash was seized by police while being transported in a taxicab, Mirhadi demanded her money back and arranged to meet Safi at a restaurant, he said.
There, a man approached their table and asked Safi to speak with him privately in his “office.” But instead, the man led Safi outside, where he was shoved into an SUV, handcuffed and driven to another location, Safi said.
Safi described hearing one of the men in the car turn on a Taser. The man told him, “’Don’t do anything stupid and you won’t get hurt,’” he said.
Safi testified that shortly after being brought into the small room, one of his captors told him a story about a gruesome movie plot involving someone being chopped into pieces. “He was talking about it like it was a normal thing,” Safi told the judge. “At the end when he said he enjoys hurting people, he was very calm and collected. I felt these things were normal for him to do and say.”
Safi said eventually he realized telling the truth to his captors about what he could deliver to them to make up for the lost cash wasn’t working. It was then he came up with a scheme to get one of his friends to give him 10 kilograms of cocaine.
Safi said he didn’t have any way to deliver that, but it was the only way he could think of to secure his own release.
His captors agreed, but warned him about what would happen if he failed to deliver. “Even if something happens to me, my associates will come after you,” one of them said.
Another kidnapper told him if the plan went awry, “I will personally hunt you and come after you.”
Police grabbed Safi and the people alleged to be his captors shortly after Safi was dropped off at a bus stop.
The trial continues in B.C. Supreme Court.