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.

Just Posted

Pacific Insight to lay off part of workforce

The company says it is transferring automotive production to its Mexico facility

UPDATED: Four Nelson marijuana dispensaries to remain open after legalization

Nelson’s police chief has no plans to close them down

Nelson candidates debate climate change at forum

Mayoral and council candidates had the chance to speak on five fictional resolutions

UPDATE: Nelson man who swam naked with sharks arrested

David Weaver, 37, will face mischief and assault charges

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

VIDEO: Candidates at Nelson election forum

Mayoral candidates joined 18 council candidates for an evening of very short answers

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

B.C. has only one bricks-and-mortar marijuana store

After 50 years, ‘Sesame Street’ Big Bird puppeteer retiring

The puppeteer who has played Big Bird on “Sesame Street” is retiring after nearly 50 years on the show.

Britain, EU decide to take some time in getting Brexit right

Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said “we need much time, much more time and we continue to work in the next weeks.”

Parole denied for convicted killer-rapist Paul Bernardo after 25 years in prison

Paul Bernardo plead for release on Wednesday by arguing he has done what he could to improve himself during his 25 years in prison.

Man holds newborn son for first time after devastating B.C. racetrack crash

Kayden was born the day after Jonathan was crushed by car at speedway

Smooth start to legal cannabis in B.C., Mike Farnworth says

Online and government store makes 4,000 sales by noon

B.C. Lions look to cement CFL playoff spot with victory over Eskimos

B.C. can cement a post-season berth in the wild West Division on Friday night with a home win over the Edmonton Eskimos

Canada ban on asbestos takes effect but mining residues are exempt

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna plans to announce the new regulations implementing the ban on Thursday in Ottawa

Most Read