A Lebanese mechanic who fixed vehicles for ISIS before arriving in Canada and making a refugee claim is complicit in the terror group’s crimes against humanity, the Federal Court has ruled.
In its decision, the court found that Boutros Massroua, a 54-year-old currently living in British Columbia, was “fattening his pockets” by keeping trucks running for ISIS and was not under duress.
“As a result of his willful ignorance and greed—which manifested in the form of very well-functioning vehicles for Daesh—the cruel objectives of Daesh were furthered and innocent lives were most likely lost,” Justice Shirzad Ahmed wrote.
Daesh is another name for ISIS.
The court upheld a deportation order issued by the Immigration and Refugee Board on the grounds that Massroua’s garage work for ISIS made him complicit in crimes against humanity.
The court’s decision was handed down on Tuesday.
The case is believed to be the first in which Canada has used war crimes laws in relation to ISIS. Massroua has not been charged with any crimes but immigration authorities are attempting to return him to Lebanon.
A Christian from Zahle, a town near the Syrian border in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, Massroua began repairing vehicles for ISIS at his shop. He was taken to a “hangar” to work on the trucks.
Although he said he did not initially know he was working for ISIS, he eventually figured it out but continued working for the terror group until leaving Lebanon with his wife in 2015.
He has made a refugee claim on the basis that he fears persecution from ISIS and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
But the court ruled that Massroua must have known “very early in his interaction with them” that he was working for ISIS “but remained willfully ignorant” because he was “being paid a generous sum of money.”
“However short Mr. Massroua’s involvement may have been, it does not lessen his significant contribution to the criminal purpose of Daesh,” according to the ruling.
“At a minimum, the applicant was reckless for the purposes of economic gain by fattening his pockets,” the court wrote. “However, ignorance bred out of greed is no excuse for the participation in a terrorist organization that commits crimes against humanity.”
While he began to “make excuses to avoid working for ISIS, he made no attempts to flee from ISIS,” the court ruled. “He had the freedom to go about his daily activities, and was not being held captive by ISIS.”