RCMP arrest Montreal teenager on terrorism allegations after tip from FBI
The RCMP arrested an 18-year-old Montreal man Thursday on allegations he was going to commit a terrorism offence based on a tip from the FBI.
Police officers searched the home of Mohamed Amine Assal in the city's Saint-Laurent borough Thursday afternoon. The accused appeared in court via videoconference and agreed to a terrorism peace bond with several conditions.
According to a news release from the RCMP, the arrest was aimed at "disrupting the suspicious activities of Mr. Assal and ensuring he undertakes to keep the peace pursuant to section 810.011 of the Criminal Code."
Assal has not been charged and none of the allegations has been proven in court.
The Crown agreed to his release on conditions that include the surrender of his passport to the RCMP and a ban on using cellphones or computers unless it's for school purposes. He must also wear a GPS tracking device and respect a curfew.
"The purpose of those conditions is to ensure that the offence is stopped or not committed and the offender undertakes to keep the peace and be of good behaviour," said Nancy Perrault of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, outside of court.
"The RCMP feared that he may commit a terrorism offence and facilitating terrorism activity because of his exchanges on social media."
A document filed with the court in order to obtain the peace bond, and obtained by CTV News, contained allegations from an FBI source about several posts on various social media and messaging apps, including the Telegram app.
The RCMP's Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) started its investigation on March 14 after receiving information from the FBI.
Police alleged in the document that a person in Montreal using the messaging app Telegram with the username @abujoe000 appeared to plan terrorist activity for the benefit of ISIS.
The document alleged that user was "radicalized by ISIS" and was among a group of six people who had been convinced by an ISIS supporter based in Italy to "conduct attacks."
The user, according to the document, was "planning an attack" and was trying to secretly convince others to join his cause.
In justifying the request for a peace bond, the RCMP investigator alleged that the user advocated violence against non-Muslims and "offered advice to another Telegram user on how to make an IED and offers to contact him by phone to discuss" how to make it.
Assal's lawyer said Thursday he needs time to review the evidence. "It's on a USB key, which shows that it has a certain volume to it and so it will take time to go through all of that," Morena said, adding that his client is taking the allegations "quite hard."
"As anyone who would be in this situation, it's not easy," he told reporters.
"However, the result today is a positive one in light that he received conditions for his release and the case will follow course with him free, which is a big plus."
The RCMP said charges could be laid at another date since their investigation is ongoing.
Assal is scheduled to return to court on May 4.
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