Police arrest man in connection with online threats against Quebec premier, public health director

In this file photo, Quebec Premier François Legault speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Wednesday, April 22, 2020 at the legislature in Quebec City while Horacio Arruda, Quebec director of national public health, left, looks on. Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) says a man in 60s was arrested earlier this week in connection with online threats made against Quebec Premier François Legault and public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda.

SQ spokesperson Brigitte Dorsainville said an investigation was launched after an anonymous tip was made to police at the SQ detachment in the MRC de La Jacques-Cartier, a region made up of nine cities and municipalities north of Quebec City, on Aug. 4.

The file was taken over by investigators with the major crimes unit.

Read more: Dr. Arruda defends his decision to file a complaint with police following private information leak

Dorsainville would not confirm death threats were made against Legault and Arruda, but did say the threats posted on Facebook were “serious” in nature.

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The suspect in the case — a Ste-Brigitte man — was arrested and released with conditions and on a promise to appear in court on Oct. 6.

Under the conditions of his release, the individual is not allowed to make contact with the premier nor Arruda and must refrain from posting threatening messages on social media.

Click to play video: 'The head of public health victim of ‘doxing’' The head of public health victim of ‘doxing’
The head of public health victim of ‘doxing’ – Aug 3, 2020

Dorsainville said police want to remind people of the seriousness of the issue.

“The criminal code applies even for threats made on social media,” she said.

Last week, Arruda filed a complaint with provincial police at the end of July after his personal information was leaked online.

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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, some social media users have insulted Arruda online when they disagree with measures taken by the Quebec government to stop the potential spread of the novel coronavirus.

In particular, Arruda has been targeted over a directive mandating mask-wearing in indoor public spaces across the province.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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