POLITICS

Montreal man signs peace bond amid RCMP terrorism fears

03/27/2015 10:35 EDT | Updated 05/27/2015 05:59 EDT
MONTREAL - A Montreal man the RCMP fears will commit a terrorism offence has signed off on a peace bond that will severely restrict his movements and have him under tight surveillance for the next year.

Merouane Ghalmi made a brief court appearance on Friday where the matter was settled.

The Crown said Ghalmi, 22, has agreed to abide by a lengthy list of conditions that includes handing over his passport and not communicating with people in Syria or anyone linked to a terrorist group.

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

"This is a preventive measure, it's not a charge," federal prosecutor Lyne Decarie said of the peace bond, which is valid for one year and was signed under Sec. 810.01 of the Criminal Code.

Decarie said Ghalmi will have to wear a worldwide GPS tracker and hand over passwords to all his electronic devices to the RCMP's integrated national security enforcement team.

Ghalmi is forbidden from consulting or attempting to look up terrorist or radical materials that promote violence or religious and political extremism.

He must keep the peace, stay at his current address, remain in Quebec and is forbidden from applying for a new passport of any nationality.

Ghalmi is not allowed to have a cellphone, must stay clear of people with criminal records and also has to check in regularly with police.

Decarie said no witnesses were necessary because Ghalmi accepted the conditions.

"He agreed that the RCMP had reasonable grounds to believe that he could commit a terrorist offence so he accepted to follow these conditions for 12 months," Decarie said.

Ghalmi and his lawyer left the Montreal courthouse without commenting.

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada says the federal government has used peace bonds in terrorism-related matters fewer than 10 times.

Ghalmi's peace bond is the first terrorism-related bond signed in Quebec. He was originally summoned in February.

It's the second such case, under the rarely used provision, to appear before a Canadian court this week.

On Wednesday, the RCMP announced it had arrested Amir Raisolsadat, a 20-year-old man from Prince Edward Island, and was seeking a peace bond amid allegations police feared he would commit a terrorism offence.

Raisolsadat, a student from the island town of Stratford, was freed on conditions and must return to provincial court April 20.

As in Ghalmi's case, the RCMP released few details.

A component of the Conservatives' controversial anti-terrorism bill issued introduced earlier this year would make it easier for the RCMP to issue such peace bonds.

The existing law requires a fear that someone "will commit" a terrorism offence before police can obtain a peace bond. However, Bill C51 would create a new, lower threshold whereby one could be issued if there were reasonable grounds to fear a person "may commit" a terrorism offence.

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