Accused Pakistani terrorist decides against testifying at deportation hearing

A Pakistani man accused of plotting terror attacks in Toronto’s financial district decided on Tuesday to stop testifying despite facing possible criminal sanction for doing so.

TORONTO — A Pakistani man accused of plotting terror attacks in Toronto’s financial district decided on Tuesday to stop testifying despite facing possible criminal sanction for doing so.

The decision from Jahanzeb Malik, a permanent resident of Canada facing a deportation hearing, could see him fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to up to five years in prison.

“I’m choosing not to answer the questions,” Malik told the Immigration and Refugee Board hearing. “Any questions.”

“There may be consequences,” Andrew Laut, the presiding member, told him.

Malik, 34, had been testifying via video link from the detention centre in Lindsay, Ont., responding to questions from John Oliveira of Canada Border Services Agency.

He told the hearing he had travelled to Libya two years ago to teach English as a second language.

“It was a job opportunity,” he said. “I went there, you know, to make some money.”

Malik said he spent two months in the Libyan city of Benghazi before heading to Pakistan to see his parents.

Pictures he took in Libya were lost when he dropped his phone, he said.

Oliveira questioned Malik about his religious beliefs and to which Muslim sect he belonged to.

“I don’t believe in sects. I’m a simple Muslim,” Malik replied. “I’m not a religious scholar.”

Oliveira asked if he was an observant Muslim.

“I don’t know what you mean,” Malik said. “What’s the definition of an observant Muslim?”

Ottawa accuses Malik of plotting to attack the U.S. consulate and financial district buildings in Toronto and wants him declared inadmissible. It also accuses him of trying to recruit and radicalize others to help commit terrorist acts.

The government’s case is largely based on evidence gathered by an undercover RCMP officer, who befriended the flooring contractor. The officer, who cannot be identified under a sweeping publication ban, has yet to testify at the Immigration and Refugee Board hearing.

Malik, a father of two, came to Canada as a student in 2004 to study math at York University, and became a permanent resident in 2009.

He was vague about his various Twitter handles and multiple Facebook accounts, which he said had been hacked or disabled for reasons he didn’t know. “Ask Facebook,” he said.

Asked to explain one tweet in which he used an expletive against Shia Muslims, he said he didn’t intend to condemn all Shias but wanted to make clear he didn’t condone killings in the name of sects.

“They’re the ones who committed this atrocity,” he said. “Everything has context.”

Malik’s lawyer, Anser Farooq, noted the rules of evidence are much looser than those in a criminal court. He objected to the government’s entering 400 pages of typed notes of the officer’s interactions with Malik.

RCMP did not provide audio recordings of the interactions and it’s impossible to verify the notes, Farooq said.

“We can’t meaningfully test any of them,” Farooq said. “(Mr. Malik) is in a forum where his hands are tied, both literally and figuratively.”

Laut disagreed. Farooq would get a chance to question the officer about the notes when he testifies, Laut said.

Also on Tuesday, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney announced legislation he said would make it easier to deport foreign criminals.

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

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta reports 1,731 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday

The province’s central zone has 992 active cases

Collin Orthner, manager at McBain Camera in downtown Red Deer, stands behind the store’s counter on Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
A few Red Deer businesses happy with Black Friday results

While this year’s Black Friday wasn’t as successful as it was in… Continue reading

Le Chateau Inc. is the latest Canadian firm to start producing personal protective equipment for health care workers, in a July 3, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Hundreds of millions of dollars for frontline workers yet to be released, says Alberta Federation of Labour

Information recently released by the Alberta Federation of Labour suggests more than… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP say a 30-year-old man faces sexual charges against a teen. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Man killed in two-vehicle collision near Penhold, says Blackfalds RCMP

A 46-year-old man is dead following a two-vehicle collision on Highway 42… Continue reading

Banff National Park. (The Canadian Press)
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

EDMONTON — A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths on railway tracks… Continue reading

Cows on pasture at the University of Vermont dairy farm eat hay Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Burlington, Vt. Canadian dairy farmers are demanding compensation from the government because of losses to their industry they say have been caused by a series of international trade deals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Lisa Rathke
Feds unveil more funding for dairy, poultry and egg farmers hurt by free trade deals

OTTAWA — Canadian egg and poultry farmers who’ve lost domestic market share… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Canada's top doctor says the country is still on a troubling track for new COVID-19 infections as case counts continue mounting in much of the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
COVID-19 cases in Canada remain on troubling course, Tam says, amid rising numbers

Canada’s top doctor says the country is still on a troubling track… Continue reading

hay
Hay’s Daze: Giraffe knows filling wishes can sometimes be a tall order

Last weekend, I had a lovely breakfast. “So what?” you may say.… Continue reading

A person enters a building as snow falls in Ottawa, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. Ottawa has been successful in limiting the spread of COVID-19 during its second wave thanks to the city’s residents who have been wearing masks and staying home, said Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
People to thank for Ottawa’s success with curbing COVID-19: health officer

The city’s chief medical officer said much of the credit goes to the people who live in Ottawa

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says tonight's public video gaming session with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is about reaching young people where they hang. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP leader stoked over ‘epic crossover’ in video gaming sesh with AOC

Singh and AOC discussed importance of universal pharmacare, political civility, a living wage

A south view of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf breaking apart is seen from Ward Hunt Island, Nunavut, in an Aug. 20, 2011, handout photo. The remote area in the northern reach of the Nunavut Territory, has seen ice cover shrink from over 4 metres thick in the 1950s to complete loss, according to scientists, during recent years of record warming. Scientists are urging the federal government to permanently protect a vast stretch of Canada's remotest High Arctic called the Last Ice Area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CEN/Laval University, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Scientists urge permanent protection of Last Ice Area in Canada’s High Arctic

Tuvaijuittuq has the thickest and oldest ice in the Arctic

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s $55 million Lotto Max jackpot

No winning ticket was sold for the $55 million jackpot in Friday… Continue reading

Most Read