The procedure is exceptional. Two Canadians, including a 30-year-old Laval who had become a sniper in Syria, have just been added to the US list of “international terrorists”. A procedure rarely applied by Washington to its northern neighbors.
While Ottawa estimated that 180 Canadians had gone to swell the ranks of terrorist groups abroad, the list of international terrorists from the United States Department of State punished only until recently with three nationals of Canada. Tarek Sakr of Laval and Farah Shirdon of Calgary are fourth and fifth.
The 30-year-old Laval would spend his time in Syria and Turkey and would still be “actively engaged in terrorism,” according to the State Department statement.
“Tarek Sakr is a Canadian of Syrian origin who trained in sniper training in Syria and travels periodically to Turkey. Sakr was bound […] to the al-Nosra Front, the Al-Qaeda branch in Syria, “it reads.
Tarek Sakr is part of a small cell of Quebeckers who left Quebec towards Syria in 2011-2012, before the proclamation of a caliphate by the Islamic State group, while several groups with varied orientations rubbed shoulders on the ground in The fight against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Canadian police also suspect Sakr of being involved in the hostage-taking of two American journalists in Syria in 2013 by al-Qaeda’s al-Nora Front, revealing RCMP judicial records obtained By La Presse last year.
Journalists Matthew Schrier and Theo Padnos were detained and tortured in Syria from December 2012, one for seven months, the other two years. After his release, Padnos, a native of Vermont, told US media that he recognized the Quebec accent by listening to the hostage takers.
During the long incarceration of the Americans, the jailers forced Matt Schrier to provide all his bank account numbers. After he managed to escape in July 2013, he found that dozens of electronic devices had been purchased online with his cards. The delivery address for one of the orders corresponded to the parents’ home of Tarek Sakr in Laval, according to a billing document obtained by La Presse . She was addressed to her younger brother. However, the order was canceled before the parcel was delivered.
Joined by La Presse yesterday, the Sakr family did not want to comment on the case.
An Albertan also added
Another Canadian, the former Calgary resident Farah Mohamed Shirdon, was added to the list at the same time as Laval. Washington defined him as an “important fighter and recruiter” of the Islamic State group that would also have been involved in funding the organization.
Shirdon made himself known in a jihad propaganda video in which he tore and burn his Canadian passport and threatened Canada.
The addition of the two Canadians to the US list has been under discussion between Canadian and US authorities since last summer.
Largely redacted secret documents obtained by La Presse through the Access to Information Act reveal that the Department of Public Safety was informed in August of the Americans’ intention in this regard. The United States then asked Canada if it had “major objections”. According to the documents, the Canadian government has raised certain issues, the content of which is kept secret.
“The United States has informed the Government of Canada that it intends to register Tarek Sakr and Farah Shirdon. Several charges of terrorism were filed by the RCMP against Mr. Shirdon in his absence in September 2015. Tarek Sakr is currently not charged with any criminal charges. The government can not comment on who would or would not be the subject of a criminal investigation, “said Scott Bardsley, Press Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale.
The addition of the two Canadians to the US list does not mean they are wanted. The effect of the measure is to prohibit immediately any US citizen or business from entering into a transaction with them. If some of their assets were eventually to be found in a territory under American jurisdiction, they would be immediately frozen by the courts. The list does not have the force of law in Canada.
Rare for a Canadian
Only three other Canadians are on the US State Department’s list of international terrorists:
Montrealer Abousfian Abdelrazik, who had been detained in Sudan while suspected of being an Al Qaeda agent and was repatriated to Canada in 2009. He was never accused but was able to remove his name from the Anti-terrorist list of the UN Security Council, but not from the US list. He sues Ottawa for $ 24 million because he claims to have been falsely labeled a terrorist.
Hassan el-Hajj Hassan, a Canado-Lebanese, who was added in 2015 for his role in an attack in Bulgaria against tourists in a coach. The attack was linked to Hezbollah.
Michel Samah, former Lebanese Minister of Information and Tourism, who was arrested by the Lebanese authorities in August 2012 for plotting terrorist attacks and also holds Canadian citizenship.
– With the collaboration of William Leclerc, La