Convicted al-Qaeda supporter arrested for 2nd time since release from prison

Click to play video: 'Exclusive: Canadian terrorism convicts leave prison still radicalized'
Exclusive: Canadian terrorism convicts leave prison still radicalized
An in-depth look at how the RCMP and other police agencies managed to find Kevin Omar Mohamed through anonymous online posts – Feb 28, 2020

Convicted al-Qaeda supporter Kevin Omar Mohamed was arrested by Toronto counter-terrorism police on Sunday for the second time since his release from prison last year.

Mohamed, 27, was to appear in court Monday to face a terrorism peace bond following his arrest by the RCMP-led Ontario Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (O-INSET).

The arrest came six weeks after he was arrested for allegedly violating the conditions of his probation by possessing a cell phone capable of accessing the internet.

“On August 21, 2020, RCMP O-INSET came into possession of information through the course of an investigation which led them to form a belief that Kevin Mohamed may pose a risk to public safety,” the RCMP said in a news release.

He was arrested on a warrant that is the first step to imposing a terrorism peace bond, a tool used to restrict the actions of those found to be national security threats.

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“The purpose of the terrorism peace bond is to compel Kevin Mohamed to abide by court sanctioned conditions which would mitigate the risk of him committing a terrorist related offence. In addition, on this date and pursuant to judicial authorizations, two residences associated to Kevin Mohamed were searched by police,” the RCMP said.

The case points to Canada’s struggle to deal with terrorism offenders coming out of prison still radicalized.

The Parole Board of Canada warned prior to his release there was no evidence Mohamed had abandoned extremist beliefs and said it was concerned he would continue to commit terrorist crimes.

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“This is more clear evidence that we need a proper de-radicalization program for terrorism offenders,” said Queen’s University Prof. Amarnath Amarasingam, who studies terrorism and radicalization.

“Simply arresting them and putting them in prison isn’t going to address their political grievances, properly contextualize the thinkers and ideas they are consuming.”

The office in charge of O-INSET said police were keeping an eye on terrorism offenders.

“The RCMP and our law enforcement and intelligence partners continue to monitor and assess the threat that individuals that possess ideologically motivated extremist views pose to public safety, particularly those on court-imposed conditions as a result of their previous convictions for terrorism-related offences,” Superintendent Christopher deGale said.

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Mohamed was “being held in custody pending a bail hearing,” said Public Prosecution Service of Canada spokesperson Elizabeth Armitage.

Click to play video: 'How police tracked Ontario terror suspect Kevin Omar Mohamed'
How police tracked Ontario terror suspect Kevin Omar Mohamed

A former University of Waterloo student, Mohamed travelled to Syria in 2014, made contact with the local al-Qaeda faction and encouraged others to come fight or conduct attacks in the West.

On social media, he described himself as a “supporter of international terrorism” and said “you shouldn’t live in the lands waging war on Islam unless your [sic] planning attacks against them.”

He wrote that attacking the West was “really beautiful” and asked “bros in the West” why they weren’t conducting more attacks and suggested “killing vulnerable soldiers right now.”

He also sent a message about security at the Royal Military College in Kingston, which was forwarded to a senior ISIS attack planner in Syria, Reyaad Khan, the RCMP alleged.

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The online posts were between 2014 and 2016.

When he was arrested in Waterloo, Ont. in 2016, he was carrying a large knife. A police search found materials on conducting terrorist attacks and selecting targets.

He was convicted of participating in the activity of a terrorist group and, in October 2017, sentenced to four-and-a-half years. But he was released in March 2019 after serving two-thirds of his sentence.

Because of his history of using social media to incite terrorism, he was prohibited from possessing a device capable of accessing the internet and was not allowed to possess terrorist materials.

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