RCMP files terrorism charges against suspect in Edmonton city hall shooting incident

Movie DetailerCanada RCMP files terrorism charges against suspect in Edmonton city hall shooting incident
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Amidst the events that unfolded in January at Edmonton city hall, a security guard identified as Bezhani Sarvar stands accused of unsettling actions that have resulted in terrorism-related charges against him. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) disclosed on Monday that Sarvar, 28, is charged with counselling commission of a terrorism offence and possession of property for terrorist purposes by its Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET).

Furthermore, Sarvar faces nine other criminal charges linked to the incident that occurred on January 23 at city hall, leading to a temporary lockdown of the premises. The RCMP emphasized that the charges laid against Sarvar are considered to be terrorism offences, a fact highlighted in their news release following the event.

Fortunately, no individuals were harmed during the attack on city hall, as confirmed by the RCMP, who continue their ongoing criminal investigation into the matter. Sarvar is currently detained at the Calgary Remand Centre, with a scheduled bail hearing listed in court records for the following Tuesday.

Notably, Sarvar was employed by the security company Corps of Commissionaires since 2019 but was never part of the security detail at city hall, as stated by the company in a previous press release. Commenting on the situation, Temitope Oriola, a University of Alberta professor specializing in criminology and sociology, expressed his lack of surprise at the terrorism charges against Sarvar.

Oriola elaborated on the challenges of proving terrorism-related offences, noting the significant evidentiary threshold required for successful convictions in such cases. Moreover, he highlighted a shift in Canadian authorities’ stance towards prosecuting individuals for terrorism-related activities, indicating a growing readiness to pursue such charges.

Discussing the specific factors influencing potential terrorism charges, Oriola emphasized the significance of the tactics employed by the suspect. He suggested that attacks targeting public institutions or elected officials typically carry more weight in terrorism cases compared to incidents with different targets.

A key piece of evidence in the case is a four-minute video featuring Sarvar that circulated on social media, shedding light on his grievances and aspirations for societal change. In the video, Sarvar articulates concerns about various issues, including inflation, housing affordability, multiculturalism, and global conflicts, among others.

Commenting on the content of the video, Oriola described it as a collection of seemingly unrelated grievances that could indicate potential mental health issues for Sarvar. Neighbors residing in Sarvar’s north-side apartment complex described him as a reserved individual with a family.

In the aftermath of the incident at city hall, security protocols have been under review, leading to the temporary closure of the premises to the public. Subsequently, city staff have been allowed to return to the building as investigations and security measures continue to unfold.

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