CALGARY — RCMP have laid terrorism-related charges against a Calgary man following what they say was an extensive and complex seven-year investigation.
Hussein Sobhe Borhot, 34, is charged with participation in activity of a terrorism group and commission of an offence for a terrorist group.
Investigators from the RCMP’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Team allege the accused travelled to Syria between May 2013 and June 2014 to join Islamic State militants.
They allege the group trained him for the purpose of enhancing its ability and that Borhot knowingly committed the offence of kidnapping while working with the militants.
“Canada is not immune to terrorist threats,” RCMP Supt. Stacey Talbot, the officer in charge of the Alberta division of the national security team, said in a release.
“Through an integrated law enforcement approach, the RCMP and its partners are in a better position to prevent, detect, deny and respond to threats to Canada’s national security.”
Borhot has been ordered held in custody. He is to return to court in Calgary on Friday.
RCMP say the investigation continues and further charges and arrests are possible.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was the federal minister of national defence when Canadian troops were deployed to fight the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. He said the arrest is significant.
“It’s important that law enforcement send a message that there is no immunity for Canadians who go abroad to commit acts of terrorism, to victimize the innocent and, in some cases, to also attack Canadian military personnel,” Kenney said.
Last December, a southern Ontario man, who once stood trial in Turkey for having alleged links to the Islamic State group, was arrested.
The RCMP charged Ikar Mao of Guelph with one count each of participating in the activities of a terrorist group and of leaving Canada to take part in terrorist group activity.
An annual federal report on extremism last year said some 190 people with connections to Canada are suspected of terrorist activity abroad and about 60 had returned.
The Alberta premier, saying he hopes there are more individuals charged, said it’s “outrageous” people would leave a peaceful country to fight against Canadian troops.
“I hope there are other ongoing investigations because we do know that there were dozens of so-called Canadian foreign fighters who went abroad to join ISIS and similar deeply hateful terrorist organizations.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2020
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Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press