B.C. man's Facebook page supported terror attacks in West, trial hears
Celebratory social media posts read in court Friday during terrorism trial of Othman Hamdan
A British Columbia man allegedly used his Facebook account to express support of "lone wolves" who committed violent terror attacks in the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, his trial heard on Friday.
Othman Hamdan of Fort St. John has pleaded not guilty to encouraging the commission of murder, assault and mischief, all for terrorist purposes, as well as inducing and instructing someone to carry out a terrorist act.
Eighty-five posts on Hamdan's Facebook page are being scrutinized in B.C. Supreme Court by the Crown's expert witness, RCMP Const. Tarek Mokdad, who has extensively studied the online activity of so-called lone wolves, those who carry out attacks on their own.
"Lone wolves, we salute you," read one post on March 3, 2015, as read aloud by Crown counsel Lesley Ann Kilgore.
85 posts to be read
The trial before Justice Bruce Butler began Thursday and the Crown has read about half of the 85 posts in question.
Many of the posts read Friday paid tribute to gains made by ISIL and attacks in Canada and other Western countries.
The March 2015 post, for example, referenced gunshots fired outside the National Security Agency in Baltimore, although Mokdad said the incident was later found not to be connected to terrorism.
One post in October 2014, amid ISIL's assault on the Syrian city of Kobani, calls the forces fighting against the group "terrorists."
"IS is winning more ground and the lone wolves are hitting you in the heart of your lands," the post says.
Mokdad testified that the post came one month after ISIL spokesman Muhammad al-Adnani called for attacks in countries that joined a U.S.-led coalition to defeat the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.
Al-Adnani urged ISIL supporters to strike civilians or government officials in coalition countries, including Canada, said Mokdad.
Author of posts unclear
Another post in October 2014 calls Martin Couture-Rouleau, who rammed a car into Canadian soldiers in Quebec, "the real hero for hitting evil Canadian forces on their soil in retaliation for the Canadians supporting the Shiite gangs in Iraq."
The post adds, "May Allah accept him," which Mokdad testified is a reference to the Muslim belief that only God can decide who is a legitimate martyr.
It's unclear whether Hamdan authored the posts himself or shared posts written by others. The defence has not yet had an opportunity to cross-examine Mokdad.
Mokdad testified the profile photo on several posts was a symbol from the ISIL flag.
2015 post blames Harper for attacks
Another post in January 2015 blames then-prime minister Stephen Harper for lone wolf attacks in Canada.
"In response to Harper's policy of no restrictions on Canadian criminal forces in Iraq, Islamic State issues ... an order to lone wolves in Canada with 'no restrictions' on targets ... unlike prior restrictions to government and armed personnel only," the post says, as read in court by Kilgore.
"If you are looking for someone to blame it is your government and elected prime minister."
In February 2015, after three French soldiers were stabbed on patrol in Nice, a post says, "the save the world, kill a frog campaign is well on its way."
Hamdan, who has a shaved head, trimmed beard and glasses, sat in the prisoner's box Friday intently scribbling notes and occasionally whispering to his lawyer.