An Ontario man who travelled to Syria and called for attacks in Canada has been placed on a terrorism peace bond that requires him to wear a GPS monitoring device and undergo de-radicalization.
The 26 restrictions imposed on Kevin Omar Mohamed may be the strongest yet approved by the courts since Canadian police began using peace bonds against extremists drawn to the conflict in Syria.
Although terrorism peace bonds typically remain in effect for a year, Mohamed’s is for four years and bans him not only from owning weapons or using social media, but also from driving.
He must wear a tracking device for two years and is required to take part in counselling and disengagement programs recommended by Project ReSet, a federally-funded program.
“So far as I recall this is by far the strongest that I have seen,” said Prof. Michael Nesbitt of the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law.
“Certainly as concerns peace bonds, either generally or the specific terrorism peace bonds, this is towards the strong end of what you would ever expect to see.”
Terrorism peace bonds are one of the tools used by Canadian authorities to deal with so-called returnees — extremists who left Canada to join terror groups, and then came back.
“They are a means of establishing some control over individuals short of a charge or conviction,” reads a 2016 RCMP document. “Peace bonds do not fully mitigate the risk posed by an individual.”
The terrorism peace bond placed on Mohamed came into effect on May 6. It was not publicly announced at the time, but the details were obtained by Global News from Ontario court documents.
“It’s harsh,” said Mohamed’s lawyer, Paul Slansky.
The conditions were worked out in discussions with prosecutors, he said.
“That was the Crown’s position, and my instructions were to settle and not to litigate.”
A 28-year-old resident of Whitby, Ont., Mohamed has already served a prison sentence for terrorism.
In 2014, he travelled to Syria to join the local Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Al-Nusrah, and used social media accounts to encourage attacks in the West.
He returned to Canada and pleaded guilty to participating in the activity of a terrorist group.
The Parole Board of Canada said it was concerned he might commit further terrorist offences, but he was released anyway in 2019.
About a year later, police arrested Mohamed once again, this time for breaching a probation condition that banned him from possessing an electronic device that could access the internet.
The RCMP then asked the Ontario court for a terrorism peace bond, alleging they had uncovered evidence Mohamed could pose a risk to public safety.
The peace bond imposed on Mohamed bans him from possessing a passport, terrorist literature, explosives, bomb-making materials, firearms and “any knife or cutting tool.”
He is not permitted to use social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook for three years, as well as encrypted messaging applications and electronic devices that can connect to the internet.
He cannot associate or communicate with anyone involved with or supportive of a terrorist group, or who holds “views that support or advocate violence or violent extremism.”
“He was released from custody on strict conditions,” said Nathalie Houle, spokesperson for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, which handles terrorism cases.
Writing under aliases, he said attacking the West was “really beautiful,” and asked “bros in the West” why they weren’t conducting more attacks. He suggested “killing vulnerable soldiers right now.”
When police first arrested him in 2016, he was carrying a large knife. In his locker at the University of Waterloo, police found a four-page note listing the steps required to conduct a terrorist attack.
At his bail hearing, police alleged they had linked him to a social media post sent to an ISIS attack planner about security at the Royal Military College in Kingston.