NEWS

Merouane Ghalmi target of terrorism-linked peace bond

02/26/2015 11:16 EST | Updated 04/28/2015 05:59 EDT
The Crown has confirmed it's seeking a peace bond against a 22-year-old Montreal man who the RCMP fears will commit a terrorism offence.

Merouane Ghalmi, dressed in a black winter jacket, with a beard and shaved head, made a brief appearance Thursday in Montreal court. 

Ghalmi is scheduled to be back in court on March 27 to sign the peace bond.

A summons was issued to Ghalmi on Feb. 23 ordering him to appear in court Thursday.

He 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.''

Peace bond now easier to obtain

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.

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.

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