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Landmark Decision: Veltman Murder Case Ruled as Terrorism


In a groundbreaking ruling that has left a significant impact on Canadian society, the sentencing in the Afzaal family trial concluded with a verdict that has been eagerly awaited by the family and Canada's Muslim communities. The Ontario Superior Court in London, under Justice Pomerance, declared that the crimes committed by 23-year-old Nathaniel Veltman constitute terrorist activity. This designation acknowledges that the heinous attack was deliberately targeted at Muslims, with the intention to intimidate all Muslims in Canada and sow seeds of hate and division within the nation.

The Court described the attack on the Afzaal family as a "textbook example of terrorist motive and intent," marking the first time in Canadian history that a case involving white nationalism has met the threshold of terrorism. Veltman was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole eligibility for 25 years for the first-degree murder of four family members - Talat Salman, Syed Salman Afzaal, Madiha Salman, and Yumnah Afzaal. Additionally, he received a life sentence for the attempted murder of the youngest family member, who was only nine years old at the time of the attack.

London's Muslim community, devastated by this tragedy, has been waiting nearly three years for justice. Victim impact statements, including one from the lone surviving family member, were read in court earlier this month, painting a poignant picture of the profound loss experienced by the family, friends, and the wider community.

The trial revealed disturbing details of Veltman's motivation, as evidence showed he was driven by right-wing extremist and Islamophobic views, identifying as a "White Nationalist." He meticulously planned the attack, including the purchase of body armor and the vehicle used in the crime. The Crown emphasized the racially charged and dehumanizing nature of Veltman's justifications for the attack, which has left the Muslim community shattered.

George Dolhai, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, emphasized the significance of today's ruling, stating that it denounces the murders as terrorism and reaffirms Canada's commitment to protecting the diverse beliefs and expressions of its citizens. Federal prosecutor Sarah Shaikh echoed this sentiment, highlighting that terrorism motivated by Islamophobia cannot be tolerated and must be condemned unequivocally.

Regrettably, this case is not an isolated incident, as Canada has seen a rise in Islamophobic attacks. This ruling sends a resolute message that violent extremism targeting Muslim communities will not be tolerated. It serves as a reminder of the urgent need to address online hate, which can contribute to radicalization and violent acts.

While this decision cannot undo the loss suffered by the "Our London Family," it provides some solace to communities seeking equity and justice. Our heartfelt thoughts remain with the families and friends of the victims, who continue to grapple with the immense loss. Together, we must renew our commitment to combatting hate and Islamophobia to ensure a safer and more inclusive Canadian society.

The prosecution of this case was a joint effort by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario. The Public Prosecution Service of Canada, a national organization, is dedicated to prosecuting federal offences impartially and providing prosecution-related advice to law enforcement agencies across the country.


Article Source: ALAMEENPOST