B.C. man acquitted of terror charges sues provincial, federal governments

Othman Hamdan was charged in 2015 over 85 Facebook posts in which he supported some actions of Islamic State militants

Scales of justice

A British Columbia man acquitted of terrorism-related charges has filed a lawsuit against the provincial and federal governments, arguing he was maliciously prosecuted in violation of his charter rights.

Othman Hamdan was charged in 2015 over 85 Facebook posts in which he supported some actions of Islamic State militants and celebrated “lone wolf” terrorists. Last year, a B.C. judge ruled his comments might have been offensive, but they didn’t constitute inciting terrorism.

Hamdan has filed a lawsuit that argues Canadian and B.C. authorities prosecuted him despite the absence of probable grounds supporting his guilt and chose to ignore a body of evidence that supported his innocence.

“The conduct of the defendants was reckless, intentional, deliberate, in disregard of the plaintiff’s rights, indifferent to the consequences and exploited the plaintiff’s vulnerability,” says the notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court.

Hamdan, 35, is a Jordanian national of Palestinian descent who came to B.C. after living in the United States and was granted refugee status following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He has been detained pending the results of an immigration review.

At the time of his arrest, he was living in the northern community of Fort St. John. The Facebook posts were written between September 2014 and July 2015, with one reading, “Lone wolves, we salute you.”

Related: B.C. man cleared of terrorism charges related to Facebook posts

In acquitting Hamdan, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Butler wrote that he “was trying to highlight what he perceived to be hypocrisy and injustice, support some of the actions of (the Islamic State) in its defence of Sunni Muslims in Iraq and Syria and promote discussion about these issues.”

Hamdan says in his notice of civil claim that he only learned during trial that the sole evidence being presented against him was the online posts, which he says are constitutionally protected speech and “woefully inadequate evidence to secure a conviction.”

None of the allegations contained in the lawsuit has been proven and no statements of defence have been filed.

Hamdan alleges the Crown never presented the full body of evidence in their possession — hundreds, if not thousands of posts — but simply chose particular posts which fit their theory of the case.

“The only purpose of the plaintiff’s incarceration has been to disrupt him from having access to a computer to voice constitutionally protected speech, in violation of his charter rights,” says the lawsuit.

Hamdan says he remains “unlawfully” incarcerated and has suffered damages including loss of liberty, reputation, privacy and opportunity to earn income, as well as humiliation, pain and suffering.

He adds the defendants’ conduct “offends the moral standards of the community and warrants the condemnation of this court.

“In doing so, they acted in a manner inconsistent with their roles as ministers of justice and with an intention to subvert or abuse the office of the provincial Crown and the process of criminal justice, and so exceeded the boundaries of the office and of the provincial Crown.”

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rain for Revelstoke

Temperature hovering around zero for today

Revelstoke City Councillor Steven Cross resigns

Cross said he cannot support council giving themselves a raise

Four things NOT to do if you run into Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Like many in British Columbia, you may be worried about running into… Continue reading

Almost 20,000 parking tickets issued by Interior Health at hospitals in 2019

In 2018, pay parking in Interior Health hospitals totalled $5.3 million of their $2.2-billion budget

24 new projects funded by Columbia Basin Trust

The cost of the projects is pegged at over $377,000

VIDEO: Trudeau insists Iran respect families’ wishes when it comes to burials

All 176 people on board the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 were killed

Handmade shelters help house Salmon Arm’s large feral feline population

Shuswap Paws Rescue Society fixed and adopted out about 500 cats in 2019

Summerland taxes expected to rise by 4.0%

Increase to add an estimated $77.73 to typical tax bill

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

University of Victoria tells stories of Holocaust survivors with graphic novels

International storytelling initiative launched first meetings this winter

Tourism visits to the Thompson/Okanagan up 18 per cent year-over-year

In 2019, almost 11.4 million people spent at least one night visiting the region

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

Most Read