A man has been arrested in Ontario in an RCMP national security investigation on fears he might participate in terrorist activity, but he is not charged with any terror-related offences.
Kevin Omar Mohamed, 23, was arrested Friday afternoon in Waterloo and appeared in a Brampton court Saturday, where he was charged with two weapons offences, his lawyer Anser Farooq said.
RCMP said in a release it was a “preventative arrest” under the Criminal Code’s “fear of terrorism offence” provision, which allow police to make an arrest if they have reasonable grounds to fear someone may commit an act of terrorism.
Farooq said RCMP arrested Mohamed on five terrorism offences related to participating in terrorist activity but that those charges have not been laid.
There was “no indication of any plans for a domestic attack” and the arrest was not linked to the Brussels terror attacks, RCMP said.
“We must remain committed to preventing individuals from travelling abroad to gain training and expertise that could be used in the planning and implementation of future attacks on Canadian soil,” Supt. Lise Crouch, RCMP assistant criminal operations officer in Ontario, said in the release.
The rarely used “fear of terrorism” provision was tweaked last year as part of the former Conservative government’s controversial Bill C-51. Previously, police had to believe someone actually would carry out the crime.
Mohamed has only been charged with carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a dangerous weapon. Farooq said the allegedly illegal weapon in question was a knife.
Farooq told Global News his client is trying to understand why he was arrested on allegations of potential terrorist activity, only to be charged with two weapons counts.
“When you’re alleged to have been involved in these kinds of activities and then you end up being charged with very simple offences… he’s a bit confused and perplexed right now.”
“If the evidence that they have was strong enough I think that they’d lay those charges,” Farooq said of the terrorism offences.
Farooq said police want Mohamed to sign a peace bond, which is a court order to abide by certain conditions.
The lawyer added that the Mounties had Mohamed under surveillance, but was not sure how or when it started.
He said Mohamed is a former engineering student at the University of Waterloo but couldn’t confirm any other details of Mohamed’s personal life.
RCMP said Durham Regional Police and the Ontario Provincial Police played a “significant role” in the case. Police in Waterloo, west of Toronto, declined to comment.
Farooq said Mohamed has been remanded in custody until his next scheduled court date Tuesday.
RCMP are not commenting further on the case.
With files from The Canadian Press