PROFILE: Hiva Alizadeh

Alleged terrorist Hiva Alizadeh immigrated to Canada from Iran at least seven years ago, living in Winnipeg for much of that time.

Age: 30

Arrested in: Ottawa


  • Conspiracy to knowingly facilitate a terrorist activity.
  • Providing property or financial services for the benefit of a terrorist group.
  • Being in possession of an explosive substance with intent to harm.
Hiva Alizadeh was sketched during a court appearance Friday in Ottawa on charges related to what the RCMP say was a domestic terrorist plot. ((Sarah Wallace/CBC) )
Hiva Alizadeh immigrated to Canada from Iran about nine years ago, living in Winnipeg for much of that time.

Yusuf Abdulrehman, the owner of an Islamic grocery store in Winnipeg's West Broadway neighbourhood, said Alizadeh worked at his store for many years and was a trusted employee. Alizadeh was such a good worker that he wound up co-managing the store before leaving to attend classes in 2008.

Alizadeh, a Sunni Muslim whose parents live in Iran, attended Red River College in Winnipeg in 2003 for English-language training and in 2008 for electrical engineering. Alizadeh reportedly dropped out of both programs.

Abdulrehman described Alizadeh as a polite and gentle man. They would often pray together at the store and at a local mosque, he said.

"It's not good news .… I'm really sad, because as far as I know of Hiva, he was a good guy, he was very good.

"And I'm not the only one who ever knew Hiva. They would all tell you the same thing that Hiva was a very nice guy."

The two never discussed Alizadeh's political views, but Abdulrehman said he never saw any signs of religious radicalism.

Alizadeh seemed grateful to be in Canada and to be able to go to school here, Abdulrehman said.

Alizadeh's neighbour in Winnipeg, Ellie Pfeiffer, said he appeared to travel often and he and his wife, Julie Harper, a Winnipeg aboriginal woman, talked freely about their Muslim faith.

"They were very pleasant," Pfeiffer said. "We had no trouble with them. He was a very quiet, shy type (of) person."

Pfeiffer said she noticed a dramatic change in Alizadeh's wife's behaviour after the couple visited Toronto about two years ago.

Pfeiffer said the woman began wearing a niqab, a traditional headscarf that covers not only the hair, but also most of the face, leaving only the eyes exposed. Prior to that, she wore the less-conservative hijab, a headscarf that covers most of the hair and neck and sometimes the shoulders.

An uncle of Alizadeh in Winnipeg moved to Ottawa, then Alizadeh, his wife and their one child soon followed. The couple are expecting another child.

RCMP seized 50 circuit boards during his arrest in Ottawa. They said the electronics could be used as remote-control triggers for bombs.

A state source in Pakistan and a source in Canada familiar with the investigation told CBC News that police believe Alizadeh travelled to Pakistan seeking terrorist training.

The RCMP identified Rizgar Alizadeh as one of three unindicted co-conspirators living outside of Canada.

His brother Rizgar told The Globe and Mail the police allegations against them are, "a pack of lies."  Rizgar was speaking by telephone from Sardasht, the Kurdish village where the brothers and four other siblings grew up.  Both first names are Kurdish.

Rizgar told The Globe that Hiva "was saying lots of good things about Canada’s economy, and it was really good for him, because he was working and had enough to do."