Man Arrested for Trying to Join ISIS in Court Today

Man Arrested for Trying to Join ISIS in Court Today

Pamir Hakimzadah was returned to Canada after being detained by Turkish authorities

A Toronto man facing charges for allegedly leaving Canada to join ISIS is due to appear in court today.

Pamir Hakimzadah, 27, was taken into custody Wednesday as part of a national criminal investigation, Project Sachet, which began in January 2016.

According to the RCMP, Hakimzadah allegedly travelled to Turkey in the fall of 2014 with the intention of joining the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and participating in terrorist activity. 

He was returned to Canada after being detained by Turkish authorities. 

he RCMP said they worked with the Toronto Police Service on the investigation.

The Mounties say there was no risk to public safety, but are asking citizens to "remain vigilant" and report any information they may have on terrorism or suspicious activity to the National Security Information Network at 1-800-420-5805.

'Could set legal precedent'

Phil Gurski, a former analyst with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, believes this is the first time someone in Canada has been charged with intending to take part in a terrorist activity after returning from overseas. 

People have been charged before they leave Canada, he said, but "this is the first one that I'm aware of someone who is returning, or in this case, having been returned by an allied service, i.e. the [Turkish authorities]." 

Under the current legislation, an individual can be charged with leaving or attempting to leave the country with the intent of committing an act of terrorism.

Acts committed outside Canada can be prosecuted and facilitating terrorism in another country is also illegal. 

"People who've returned to date, to the best of my knowledge, no one has been charged with a terrorism offence," Gurski said. "Some have been charged with passport fraud or misrepresentation."

"This in fact might set legal precedent in this country."

Yusuf Badat, vice-chair of the Canadian Council of Imams, was relieved to hear about the arrest, but said the real fight has to start before people become radicalized enough to head overseas to join extremist groups.

"If we can prevent and stop, wherever possible, any kind of intent of this nature, it's far better."

With files from Nick Boisvert, Ramna Shahzad

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