MONTREAL - A second suspected war criminal named on a list released by the federal government has been arrested, proof the publicity is getting results, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Saturday.
Arshad Muhammad, a 42-year-old from Pakistan, was picked up on Saturday in Mississauga, Ont. after a member of the local police force spotted him in a store.
Muhammad's last known address was Montreal but the federal government lost track of him after he was deemed inadmissible to Canada in 2001.
According to the Canadian Border Services Agency, Muhammad was linked to an Islamist organization that was involved in terrorist attacks in Pakistan.
This is the second arrest since federal officials launched a website on Thursday identifying 30 people accused of committing or being accomplices to war crimes. It was hoped the publicity would help authorities track down some of those on the list.
On Friday, Cristobal Gonzalez-Ramirez, a 44-year-old from Honduras alleged to have been a member of a special army unit in his homeland, was arrested in Alberta.
Immigration Minister Jason said the two arrests in quick succession is due to the website and the publicity surrounding it.
"I can't say that we were expecting this kind of rapid response," he told reporters Saturday outside the CBSA office in Montreal.
"I think we've received at least dozens of useful tips, and to have had the success of two detentions in two days... has exceeded our expectations."
Erik Paradis of the Canadian Border Services Agency said it's not uncommon for someone like Muhammad to avoid capture for such a long period, but the published list has made things easier.
"It's not exceptional to find individuals in a situation like this who disappear and go underground, and for us to take a while to track them down," he said.
"With this initiative, luckily we're finding some of them."
Kenney rejected suggestions the list was put together unfairly, without sufficient evidence.
"These are people who have had the full benefit of the legal process in Canada," he said.
The list is designed to help enforce the law, he said, "against people who should not be in Canada, who are here in violation of our strict laws against things like war crimes."
"I think the public expects no less of us."
By Benjamin Shingler, The Canadian Press