The day after he was arrested by RCMP anti-terrorism police, he appeared in court Saturday to face weapons charges and allegations he was preparing to leave Canada to engage in terrorism.
Kevin Omar Mohamed, 23, was arrested by members of the Toronto-based Integrated National Security Enforcement Team as part of an ongoing counter-terrorism investigation called Project SWAP, the RCMP said.
“He was arrested in Waterloo,” said RCMP Superintendent Lise Crouch. “It’s a file that we’ve been working on for some time.”
Mohamed has been charged with possession of a dangerous weapon and carrying a concealed weapon — apparently a knife. Testifying in Brampton, Sgt Adam MacIntosh told a judge the investigation was also probing five anti-terrorism offenses.
While the former University of Waterloo engineering student has not yet been charged with terrorism, Sgt MacIntosh said police have reasonable grounds to believe Mohamed would leave Canada to participate in terrorism, advocate or promote terrorism and facilitate terrorist activity.
The RCMP is seeking a peace bond that would impose conditions on Mohamed’s conduct. Under Canada’s anti-terrorism law, police can ask the courts for peace bonds against those they suspect may be about to commit terrorism offences.
Conditions can include staying off the Internet and surrendering passports. Peace bond cases must be approved by the Attorney General, who provided signed consent in this case. Meanwhile, Mohamed’s lawyer, Anser Farooq, told CBC News the RCMP has been surveilling his client since 2014 and allege he has been involved with facilitating and encouraging terrorist activity through the use of social media.
“It’s an interpretation of the context and the words uttered by him in a social media context,” he said. “Somebody’s got to review this to determine whether it’s appropriate to have him on a peace bond.” Farooq also said he is not aware of any prior convictions for Mohamed and that his client is somewhat confused at this time.
“It’s a lot to take in,” Farooq said. “He was arrested at 2 pm yesterday, so a lot of movement happens in that period of time.”
The RCMP say Mohamed’s arrest was part of “an extensive national security criminal investigation” called Project SWAP, but aren’t releasing any further information about the reason for his arrest at this time. In a statement, they specified the arrest is no way linked to attacks that occurred in Brussels, Belgium, last week.
Additionally, Prof Amarnath Amarasingam, who has been studying Canadian foreign fighters, said Mohamed was “Guyanese by background” and that friends had described him as socially awkward. On social media, where he was known as Abu Jayyid, he wavered between supporting ISIL and opposing it, he said. (Canada National Post and CBC News)