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Canada’s ‘Most Wanted’ fugitive arrested at Ajax hospital: sources – Global News



The man labelled Canada’s most wanted fugitive, arrested just hours after an unprecedented $250,000 reward was offered for information leading to his arrest, was picked up after being spotted inside a Durham Regional hospital.

Police sources tell Global News that 32-year-old Abilaziz Mohamed, identified by The Bolo Program (BOLO stands for be on the lookout) on Tuesday morning as being the number one most wanted fugitive on the Top 25 list, was being treated at Ajax Pickering Hospital when a keen-eyed staff member noticed a man matching the description of the suspect.

Read more:

Bolo Program announces list of ‘Canada’s most wanted,’ including several sought by Toronto police

Mohamed’s picture was being widely televised and published in news reports. Sources say the suspect presented fake identification at the hospital.

Toronto police announced Wednesday that “anonymous information was received about the location of Abilaziz Mohamed and he was subsequently arrested” Tuesday night. But police did not indicate where the arrest took place leading to widespread speculation online that someone close to the accused had provided a tip, anxious to cash in on the reward.

Click to play video: 'Toronto Police announces new most wanted pilot program Bolo'

Toronto Police announces new most wanted pilot program Bolo

Toronto Police announces new most wanted pilot program Bolo – May 1, 2018

A spokesperson for Lakeridge Health which includes Ajax Pickering Hospital would not comment on the arrest citing privacy concerns.

Mohamed is accused of the first-degree murder of Craig MacDonald, a 43-year-old father of five and grandfather who was fatally shot in the parking lot of Scarborough Boston Pizza last October. A first-degree murder warrant was issued just days later for Mohamed’s arrest.

Read more:

‘Canada’s most wanted’ arrested hours after new Bolo Program campaign starts

MacDonald’s sister, Drema MacDonald, told Global News she was astounded by this latest revelation.

“I am blown away that on the very day that his face was all over the news, he happened to go to a hospital. I am grateful that the Bolo program amplified my brother’s case to get the accused killer’s face out there for all to see,” said MacDonald. She is also impressed by the fact that it does not appear the tipster was motivated by the reward.

At Tuesday’s Bolo Top 25 launch, Interim Police Chief James Ramer said it was believed Mohamed was somewhere in the GTA.

The suspect remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in court on May 11.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canada Soccer cancels controversial exhibition game against Iran – CBC News



Canada Soccer says it is cancelling a controversial exhibition game against Iran initially set for next month in Vancouver, saying it has become “significantly divisive.”

“Over the past week, the untenable geopolitical situation of hosting Iran became significantly divisive, and in response, the match was cancelled,” said Canada Soccer in a statement issued Thursday evening.

“While we considered the external factors in selecting the optimal opponent in our original decision-making process, we will strive to do better moving forward.”

The soccer organization said it “has the best of intentions” in arranging the international match for June 5 as part of Team Canada’s preparations for the FIFA World CUP in Qatar later this year.

But the decision to host Iran drew the scorn of the families of those who died aboard Flight PS752 when the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down the plane in 2020.

All 176 passengers and crew members on board the aircraft were killed, including 85 Canadians and permanent residents.

The families said the exhibition match was an insult to those still seeking justice for their loved ones — especially given persistent concerns about the IRGC’s possible ties to Iran’s team.

“We are happy,” said Hamed Esmaeilion, spokesperson for the association representing victims’ families in Canada. “This is the right thing to do … We were worried about IRGC officers coming to Canada, normalizing Canada’s relationship with Iran.”

Canada Soccer said it would conduct a “throughout review” of its “processes for hosting international matches” and consult with stakeholders moving forward. Victims’ families said Canada Soccer never responded to their letters asking about the match.

The soccer organization said it’s looking for a new opponent for the game and is working to get refunds to those who bought tickets for the match, which was almost sold out when it was cancelled.

Sina Kalhor, Iran’s deputy minister of sport, tweeted late Thursday that he’s seeking $10 million in damages from Canada Soccer, saying the organization broke its contract by cancelling the game. 

CBC News reported Tuesday that the head of Iran’s team said Canada Soccer would be paying Iran’s soccer federation $400,000 for the game.

The team’s director, Hamid Estili, told Iranian state-affiliated media that the payment would mark the first time in more than two decades that Iran’s soccer federation made a profit off a friendly match. 

Canada Soccer did not confirm or deny that quoted amount but said it’s standard practice to pay visiting teams appearance fees to cover expenses.

Canada Soccer received more than $3 million in federal funding this fiscal year. The government says none of that money went toward the match.

Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge said in a statement to CBC News that the government “commends Canada Soccer for making this decision” and is looking forward to cheering on Team Canada during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

Ukraine’s ambassador-designate to Canada Yulia Kovaliv is now calling on Canada Soccer to have a friendly match with Ukraine’s soccer team instead.

“And 400K could go for humanitarian needs of Ukrainians affected by Russia’s war,” wrote Kovaliv. “I guess it’s win-win.”

The soccer organization was under mounting political pressure to call off the nearly sold-out match at BC Place.

Ralph Goodale, Canada’s high commissioner to the U.K. and Canada’s former special adviser on Flight PS752, tweeted Wednesday that Canada Soccer’s behaviour is “repugnant” and “calls into question both the competence and values of the organization.”

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart also condemned the game. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said again earlier this week that he thought the game was “a bad idea” and distanced his government from the match and its funding.

WATCH | Canada Soccer paying Iran’s team for match:

Canada Soccer to pay Iran’s team $400K for controversial soccer match

2 days ago

Duration 2:05

There’s growing controversy around a planned exhibition match between the Canadian and Iranian soccer teams set for Vancouver for June. CBC News has reported that Canada Soccer will pay $400,000 to Iran’s soccer federation for the game — and that the head of Iran’s team attended a party with a man wanted by the FBI in relation to an alleged plot to kidnap international targets.

Conservative MPs Matt Jeneroux and Richard Martel called Canada Soccer’s decision to invite and pay Iran’s team “unacceptable.”

“Hosting the Iranian national soccer team as victims of Flight PS752 are still suffering and seeking compensation is reprehensible and will only further serve to legitimize the Iranian regime,” the MPs wrote in a media statement.

Victims’ families also wrote letters to Public Safety Canada officials Tuesday raising concerns about their own security. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service says victims’ families have reported being harassed, threatened and intimidated by proxies of the IRGC.

Hamed Esmaeilion at a soccer match with his daughter Reera, who was also a soccer player. Reera, 9, died on Flight PS752 along with her mother Parisa Eghbalian. (Submitted by Hamed Esmaeilion)

Experts say politics and sports in Iran are intertwined, with the IRGC either directly or indirectly controlling many sports organizations, including soccer clubs. 

As CBC News first reported, photos taken last month show the head of Iran’s soccer team, Hamid Estili, attending a party with an alleged Iranian intelligence informant with ties to the IRGC who is wanted by the FBI.

At the time of the party, a warrant had been out in the U.S. for Mahmoud Khazein’s arrest for almost a year. He was being sought on charges related to a plot to kidnap international targets, including three people in Canada. The FBI is now looking into the matter, according to a person at the centre of the alleged kidnapping scheme.

Estili has not responded to CBC’s request for comment, submitted last week on Instagram.

Longtime sports journalist and CBC News contributor John Molinaro said it appears Canada Soccer only viewed the game as a way for Team Canada to prepare for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and didn’t consider the public relations fallout. 

Iran is ranked 21st in the FIFA men’s world rankings. Canada is ranked 38th. 

Esmaeilion said that he now wants the federal government to put the entire IRGC on its list of terrorist organizations, as the U.S. has done. Right now, only a clandestine branch of the IRGC is listed as a terrorist entity in Canada.

WATCH | Victims’ families want match called off:

Flight PS752 victims’ families outraged by Canada’s soccer match with Iran

9 days ago

Duration 2:04

The families of the victims in the downing of Flight PS752 are demanding Canada Soccer cancel a planned game with Iran’s soccer team, saying they feel betrayed by the move.

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Victoria airport shutdown prompted by inert grenades, mischief charge expected: RCMP



NORTH SAANICH, B.C. — Police say the closure of the Victoria International Airport on Tuesday was triggered by a man travelling out of Canada with inert grenades in his luggage.

RCMP Cpl. Andres Sanchez describes the items as looking and feeling like “the real thing,” but lacking the internal parts required to explode.

He says airport security staff called 911 and held the bag in the X-ray machine until police arrived and found that a second bag belonging to the same man was also inside the machine, but it had yet to be scanned.

The inert grenades in the first bag were “manual,” Sanchez says, meaning someone would have had to trigger any potential blast, had they contained explosives.

Sanchez says the second bag couldn’t be safely scanned and police were concerned about potentially dangerous contents, prompting officials to shut down the airport entirely for several hours.

He says the Mounties expect to recommend a mischief charge against the man who claimed responsibility for the bags.

The man in his 40s was arrested Tuesday and released with a court date and conditions, including that he not go to the airport, Sanchez says.

He has “some criminal history,” Sanchez says, but it’s not related to anything police are investigating in connection to the airport incident.

He’s not a current serving member of the Canadian military and “it’s still to be determined the level of, if any, of his service previously,” Sanchez adds.

Asked about the mischief charge, he says “a reasonable person would know” that bringing such items to the airport would likely cause an issue.

“One of the ways that you can look at mischief is stopping the lawful enjoyment and lawful use of a business, which is the airport,” he says.

He did not say where the man intended to travel outside Canada.

Sanchez says the second bag was found to contain military-related items, but they weren’t explosive and didn’t pose any potential risk.

He adds that police can’t yet say if the inert grenades contained explosives in the past, but they never had the potential to explode at the airport.

The airport authority says Tuesday’s shutdown caused about 20 flights to be cancelled, as well as some delays, affecting an estimated 1,800 passengers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.


The Canadian Press

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Supreme Court of Canada to rule on sentencing for Quebec City mosque shooter



OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada is slated to rule Friday on the sentencing of a man who went on a deadly shooting spree at a Quebec City mosque.

The decision in Alexandre Bissonnette’s case will determine the constitutionality of a key provision on parole eligibility in multiple-murder convictions.

As a result, it will also reverberate far beyond the case before the court.

In March 2021, a judge found Alek Minassian guilty of 10 counts of first-degree murder, three years after he smashed into people with a van on a busy Toronto sidewalk. The judge decided to delay sentencing until after the Supreme Court decision.

At issue is the tension between society’s denunciation of such horrific crimes and the notion of rehabilitation as a fundamental value in sentencing.

Bissonnette pleaded guilty to six charges of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder in the January 2017 mosque assault that took place just after evening prayers.

In 2019, Bissonnette successfully challenged a 2011 law that allowed a court, in the event of multiple murders, to impose a life sentence and parole ineligibility periods of 25 years to be served consecutively for each murder.

A judge found the provision unconstitutional but saw no need to declare it invalid and instead read in new wording that would allow a court to impose consecutive periods of less than 25 years.

Ultimately, the judge ruled Bissonnette must wait 40 years before applying for parole.

Quebec’s Court of Appeal agreed that the sentencing provision violated Charter of Rights guarantees of life, liberty and security of the person, as well as freedom from cruel or unusual punishment.

“Parliament’s response to the problem identified is so extreme as to be disproportionate to any legitimate government interest,” the Appeal Court said.

“The judge was therefore right to conclude that the scope of the provision is clearly broader than necessary to achieve the objectives of denunciation and protection of the public.”

The Appeal Court, however, said the judge erred in making the ineligibility period 40 years.

It declared the sentencing provision constitutionally invalid and said the court must revert to the law as it stood before 2011, meaning the parole ineligibility periods are to be served concurrently — resulting in a total waiting period of 25 years in Bissonnette’s case.

The Court of Appeal noted there is no guarantee the Parole Board would grant Bissonnette parole in 25 years.

“This will depend on the circumstances at the time, including the appellant’s level of dangerousness, his potential for rehabilitation and the manner in which his personality has evolved,” the court said.

“Furthermore, as with any parole, if it is granted, it will include the necessary conditions for adequately ensuring the security of the public, failing which it will not be granted.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.


Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

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