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RCMP fees Quebec man with planning a terrorist act to overthrow the Haitian authorities

The RCMP have laid terrorism fees towards a Quebec man for allegedly plotting an armed revolution to overthrow Haiti’s authorities final yr.

Gérald Nicolas, the accused, has denied the costs and blamed a disgruntled ex-girlfriend for sowing suspicion towards him. He has additionally accused Canadian police of focusing on him as a result of he’s Black.

In asserting the three terrorism fees on Thursday, the Mounties alleged Mr. Nicolas had traveled to Haiti in early 2021 with the intention of organizing a coup towards Jovenel Moïse, who was on the time the nation’s president.

Mr. Moïse was assassinated in July, 2021, because of a special homicide conspiracy unrelated to the Quebec case.

In a cost sheet submitted to a Quebec Metropolis court docket on Thursday, the RCMP accused Mr. Nicolas, a 51-year-old resident of Lévis, Que., of touring to Haiti and the Dominican Republic between April, 2020, and June, 2021 , to assemble cash, tents and a generator. Police didn’t specify how this stuff would have been used to advance the alleged coup plot.

Mr. Nicolas additionally tried however failed to obtain weapons as a part of the alleged plot, RCMP Sergeant Charles Poirier mentioned in an interview Thursday.

“The actions he had in thoughts, if he had dedicated them in Canada, they’d have been crimes, and they might have been terrorism,” Sgt. Poirier mentioned. He alleged that Mr. Nicolas started plotting the cup in January, 2020, and that he had additionally traveled to South and Central America to recruit folks and collect financing.

Regardless of the gravity of the allegations, Mr. Nicolas isn’t in police custody. He’s scheduled to seem in a Quebec Metropolis court docket on Dec. 1. The RCMP didn’t reply questions on why he was not arrested.

Mr. Nicolas performed a number of interviews with the Francophone media in Quebec on Thursday. In considered one of them, he advised Radio-Canada that an ex-girlfriend had invented a narrative about him being a terrorist. He additionally acknowledged making a Fb web page the place he had inspired Haitians to take their future into their very own palms – however he mentioned he didn’t plan a coup.

“If I used to be white, I would not be speaking to you in the present day,” he advised Radio-Canada. He advised the Journal de Montréal that he immigrated to Canada from Haiti when he was a small youngster.

Mr. Nicolas is charged with leaving Canada to facilitate terrorist exercise, facilitating terrorist exercise and offering property for terrorist goal.

Observers say such allegations present the sweep of the anti-terrorism legal guidelines Canada’s Parliament handed in 2001.

In contrast to different crimes within the Legal Code, terrorism offenses don’t have to occur on Canadian soil with the intention to be prosecuted in Canada. “There are solely sure offenses which are extraterritorial in nature, terrorism being considered one of them,” mentioned Leah West, a former federal Justice Division lawyer who teaches nationwide safety regulation at Carleton College.

Prof. West mentioned she didn’t know of a previous case the place an alleged Canadian coup plotter had confronted terrorism offences. However she mentioned terrorism legal guidelines are crafted in such a method {that a} suspect accused of plotting to overthrow a authorities could be thought of no totally different than, for instance, the spiritual extremists who flocked to the Center East to attempt to carve a statelet out of Syria and Iraq a decade in the past.

“Primarily it is the identical factor. You are overthrowing the reputable authorities and trying to put in your personal, utilizing violence,” Prof. West mentioned.

She added that Canada’s legal guidelines can punish anybody who palms over any gadgets to help such an effort, even when the objects are in themselves innocent. “The thought course of is: ‘Are you doing one thing that’s advancing a terrorist trigger?’ It does not should be cash, or a gun, or ammunition.”

Haiti stays and not using a president. The nation is going through meals and vitality shortages and the ascendancy of armed gangs. Final month, The Globe and Mail reported that Canada’s federal authorities was declining to say whether or not it could assist by main or becoming a member of a multinational safety pressure.

Mr. Moïse was assassinated by a bunch of commandos in 2021. Since then, the American authorities has begun prosecuting a number of alleged assassins who had been captured overseas and dropped at Florida to face trial. The US Division of Justice has mentioned the conspiracy concerned 20 Colombian residents and several other twin residents of Haiti and the US

Mathias Pierre, a former cupboard minister within the Moïse authorities, mentioned in an interview that he did not know of any coup makes an attempt originating in Quebec. “I used to be usually with the president,” Mr. Pierre mentioned. “I by no means heard of a coup d’etat Coming from Canada. By no means.”

With a report from Stephanie Chambers

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