The 33-year-old nephew of one of the victims of January's deadly mosque shooting in Quebec City was in court yesterday to face charges of uttering death threats against the alleged gunman and his family, Radio-Canada is reporting.
Mohamed-Amine Ben-Faras, who is being held in a Quebec City detention centre, appeared briefly via video-conference in a Quebec City court on Monday.
He is accused of threatening to kill or injure Alexandre Bissonnette and members of his family.
Bissonnette has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder in the Jan. 29 shootings at the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre.
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It's not clear which of the six men killed in the mosque attack was Ben-Faras's uncle.
Arrived in Quebec Wednesday from London
The threats were reported to police by witnesses who allegedly heard Ben-Faras utter them last Thursday, according to court documents.
Ben-Faras was arrested Saturday.
No address was provided for him, but Radio-Canada is reporting that Ben-Faras arrived in Quebec Wednesday on a flight that originated in London, U.K.
A native of Morocco, his last known address was in Italy. He also studied in Germany.
His relatives in Quebec said they have not have any contact with him.
Ben-Faras's parents live in New York and were stopped while on their way to Quebec to meet their son, Radio-Canada says.
They were released after being questioned.
Detained until Thursday
At Monday's hearing, Crown prosecutor Sabin Ouellet argued that Ben-Faras should remain in detention.
Ben-Faras said he wanted to be released immediately.
The judge ruled that Ben-Faras must remain in custody until a bail hearing on Thursday.
Ouellet did not comment on the exact nature of the alleged threats.
He said Ben-Faras knew the name of the suspect and the names of some of his family members, but he didn't know where they lived and didn't communicate with them directly.
Ben-Faras is being held in the same detention centre as Bissonnette, and Ouellet said steps were being taken to ensure Bissonnette's safety.
"The police confirmed to me this morning that the measures are being taken," the prosecutor said Tuesday.
Quebec City police are leading the investigation into the alleged threats.
Ouellet confirmed that he had asked the RCMP's intelligence services for any information they might have about the accused.