Montreal police have issued an arrest warrant for a man alleged to be a top neo-Nazi figure.
Court records show the warrant for Gabriel Sohier Chaput, who went by the online alias of Zeiger, was issued last month for the willful promotion of hatred. He is accused of hate speech and attempting to recruit others to the neo-Nazi cause.
In May, the Montreal Gazette published an investigation revealing that the prominent white supremacist was living in Montreal, and was attempting to recruit others, both online and in person.
Under the pseudonym Zeiger, Chaput was one of the most frequent writers on the white supremacist website Daily Stormer, but much of his work was removed after his real name was revealed earlier this year.
Chaput's identity was revealed when he was spotted at the far right rally in Charlottesville. An anti-fascist group watching video of the event recognized a Quebec accent, helping lead them to look locally for a neo-Nazi propagandist.
“Anti-fascists in Montreal were able to identify that the person who spoke in the VICE (News) documentary was this person named Zeiger and research into who Zeiger was they realized he was this very important figure in the far right,” said journalist Jon Milton.
His last known address was in Rosemont and he worked as a computer consultant.
Montreal police said at the time they were keeping tabs on Chaput and now say they believe he may currently be outside the country. If so, they say he will be arrested upon his return.
Since Chaput’s identity was revealed, his Facebook page and other internet postings have disappeared.
Harvey Levine of B'nai Brith said hate groups often attempt to attract recruits by acting like innocent social clubs before revealing their darker side.
"He had a private website where he was actually recruiting young people to become neo-Nazis, and they were meeting secretly in bars and other places, and this is how these organizations start to build," said Levine, who claimed Chaput has more sinister ideas.
“He was sort of openly and unapologetically arguing in favour of working towards a whites-only ethno-state which, in his view, can only be accomplished by a race war,” said Levine.
B'nai Brith is glad the arrest warrant was issued, and said it shows Montreal police are taking hate crimes seriously.
"We were assured by the hate crimes unit that it took this long because they wanted to build up a very, very, very strong case as much as they could. They gathered a lot of information, a lot of data, etc.," said Levine.