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RCMP says it fears Montreal man will commit terrorism offence; seeks peace bond

02/25/2015 02:36 EST | Updated 04/27/2015 05:59 EDT
MONTREAL - The Crown is seeking a peace bond against a Montreal man who the RCMP says it fears will commit a terrorism offence.

But the Mounties are not providing any details.

A summons was issued Feb. 23 for Merouane Ghalmi, who is required to appear before a Quebec court judge on Thursday.

The summons says the 22-year-old man will be asked to sign a peace bond when he appears before the judge.

The RCMP's Quebec detachment would not comment when contacted Wednesday and a person answering the phone at Ghalmi's residence hung up when contacted by The Canadian Press.

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada says the federal government has used peace bonds in terrorism-related matters fewer than ten times.

Daniel Brien, a spokesman for the federal Crown, said the peace bond is a preventive measure.

"It's a (binding) agreement that, when signed by an individual, with certain conditions, will keep the peace," he said from Ottawa.

Ghalmi has not been charged with any offence and it is not known why the Mounties are concerned about him because the contents of a sworn affidavit have been sealed.

The summons reads: "Because of the motives mentioned in the affidavit, (the RCMP investigator) has reasons to believe that Ghalmi will commit a terrorist offence."

In regards to peace bonds in general, David Harris, a terrorism expert, says they are useful, but they have weaknesses.

He points to the case of Ali Mohamed Dirie, who was convicted in 2009 as a member of the so-called Toronto 18 terror group.

"He (Dirie) was on a peace bond after the expiration of his sentence on terror charges and nonetheless was able to make his way to Syria where he died in combat," said Harris of Ottawa-based INSIGNIS Strategic Research Inc.

The Conservative government introduced an anti-terrorism bill last month that would make it easier for the RCMP to obtain a peace bond.

Existing law requires a fear that someone "will commit'' a terrorism offence before police can obtain a peace bond _ a tool that can mean jail unless a suspect abides by strict conditions, for instance that they surrender their passport and regularly report to police.

A new, lower threshold would be reasonable grounds to fear a person "may commit'' a terrorism offence.

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