British Columbia

'Crazy' to consider releasing man who named Revelstoke dam as ISIS target into nearby community: mayor

Othman Ayed Hamdan named the Revelstoke dam in B.C. as a potential target in a series of online posts praising ISIS. Now, Hamdan may be released into nearby Enderby while he awaits deportation from Canada.

Othman Ayad Hamdan must meet a long list of conditions before being released into Enderby, in B.C.'s Okanagan

Othman Ayed Hamdan named the Revelstoke dam in B.C. as a potential target in a series of online posts praising ISIS. (BC Hydro)

Othman Ayed Hamdan named the Revelstoke Dam in B.C. as a potential target in a series of online posts praising ISIS and cheering on lone wolf attacks.

Now, he may be released into nearby Enderby while he awaits deportation from Canada, a move the mayor of that city calls "crazy."

Hamdan has been detained by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) since September 2017 and has been deemed a "danger to the security of Canada" by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) of Canada.

But the board has also ruled Hamdan should be released from custody, with a list of more than 25 conditions attached.

If released, he would stay with a friend in Enderby, a city of approximately 3,000 people, 80 kilometres north of Kelowna and 115 kilometres southwest of the Revelstoke Dam.

An individual like this, that's expressed interest in supporting ISIS and glorifying its attacks, should definitely not be somebody who should be released into a small town in Canada- Mubin Saikh, former CSIS and RCMP operative

IRB spokesperson Melissa Anderson could not elaborate on what those conditions are or provide an estimated timeline for his release.

The ruling was being appealed by the  the CBSA through the minister of public safety at a federal court hearing in Vancouver Monday.

Hamdan suggested nearby Revelstoke dam be targeted 

Though he declined a full interview with CBC, Enderby Mayor Greg McCune said "it would be crazy" for Hamdan to be allowed to stay in the city.

Former CSIS and RCMP operative Mubin Shaikh echoed those concerns.

"An individual like this, that's expressed interest in supporting ISIS and glorifying its attacks, should definitely not be somebody who should be released into a small town in Canada," he told CBC Daybreak South host Chris Walker.

Othman Hamdan shields his face from the media on his way into a bail hearing in Fort St. John in 2016. (Brett Hyde/CBC)

Shaikh said while it's normal for individuals awaiting deportation from Canada to be released, he believes Hamdan's history should force him to remain in custody.

A Jordanian national, Hamdan says he moved to Canada from the U.S. in 2002 because of threats he'd received. He was granted refugee protection in 2004.

He was charged in 2015 for Facebook posts promoting ISIS and praising lone wolf terrorist attacks.

In 2017, B.C. the Supreme Court acquitted Hamdan of terrorism-related charges related to those posts but upon his release from custody he was arrested by officers from the Canada Border Services Agency.

The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada then revoked his refugee status, calling his online posts "sinister," making Hamdan inadmissible to Canada. 

Shaikh said of particular concerns are posts Hamdan made suggesting specific targets for attack, including the Revelstoke dam, 120 kilometres away from Enderby.

"It's one thing to make general references in support of ISIS," he said. "It's quite something else to make specific references to targets in the area that you're supposed to be released, pending your deportation."

Hamdan has argued he was falsely accused of terrorism and has sued the B.C. and Canadian governments, arguing his charter rights were violated as authorities pursued charges.

Othman Hamdan has been detained by the Canada Border Services Agency since Sept. 2017 and has been deemed a "danger to the security of Canada" by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. But that same agency also says he should be released into Enderby, B.C. while he awaits deportation. 7:36

Written by Andrew Kurjata. Interview produced by Chris Walker with reporting from Brady Strachan for CBC Daybreak South.

 

With files from the Canadian Press

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