B.C. court decision in terror entrapment case raises “serious questions”, says NCCM

-For Immediate Release-

(Ottawa – August 2, 2016) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent civil liberties & advocacy organization, says that last Friday’s decision by a British Columbia Supreme Court judge to overturn the verdict of two people found guilty of terror charges raises serious questions about abuse of authority by law enforcement.

In making her landmark ruling, Justice Catherine Bruce deemed that the pair was entrapped by the RCMP in a police manufactured crime. In a strongly-worded rebuke, the Court denounced the police tactic in the following terms:

The spectre of the defendants serving a life sentence for a crime that the police manufactured by exploiting their vulnerabilities, by instilling fear that they would be killed if they backed out, and by quashing all doubts they had in the religious justifications for the crime, is offensive to our concept of fundamental justice. Simply put, the world has enough terrorists. We do not need the police to create more out of marginalized people who have neither the capacity nor sufficient motivation to do it themselves.

“While we find the underlying actions and motivations of the defendants to be categorically repugnant, also abhorrent are the actions of law enforcement agents who in their zeal to secure national security convictions appear to have abused their powers,” says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

“This decision raises more questions than it answers about the powers given to security agencies and whether or not there are enough checks and balances in place to ensure that law enforcement agencies operate within the bounds of the law.

“This case confirms that abuse of authority in the pursuit of national security is a serious issue that must be effectively addressed by both the federal government and the RCMP. Police-manufactured crimes do not keep Canadians safer.

“Cases such as this undermine the trust between Canadian Muslim communities and our law enforcement agencies.  Moreover, the decision does not negate the damage already done to the broader Canadian Muslim community in terms of reinforcing false and negative stereotypes. One has to wonder if these vulnerable individuals, as described by the court, would have made different decisions had they been provided with adequate counseling and support.

“When it comes to public safety, partnerships based on trust between government, law enforcement agencies, and communities are crucial to nurturing safe communities. Regrettably, actions by security agencies such as those described in this case only serve to compromise these relationships.

“We urge the federal government to comprehensively investigate the outcomes of this case and explain to Canadians what steps it will take to prevent similar abuses of authority in national security cases.”

The NCCM is an independent, non-partisan, and non-profit grassroots advocacy organization. It is a leading voice for Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.