‘High risk’ Calgarians stripped of their Canadian passports
Five Canadians, including three Calgarians, have been charged with passport fraud as the RCMP cracks down on travellers considered to be high risk with radical ideals.
In November of 2013, RCMP arrested:
- 22-year-old Ali Ibrahim Abubaker
- 20-year-old Hamza Abduljawad Omer
- 19-year-old Naomi Afeworki Mahdere
The three travellers were attempting to depart Calgary International Airport when they were detained and stripped of their passports. All three have pled guilty to passport fraud.
Abubaker and Mahdere were also charged with breaching prior conditions, including a court order prohibiting the two from remaining in contact with one another.
Two other Canadians from Windsor, Ontario have been arrested and face similar passport fraud charges.
The charges are the result of an investigation by a high risk traveller task force which was started by the RCMP in an attempt to identify Canadians who are likely to travel overseas to join extremist groups.
A representative with the Muslim Association of Calgary released the following statement, dated October 30, 2014, in response to the actions of the RCMP:
Our community supports our security services taking all reasonable steps necessary to secure our country and to protect Canadian citizens, particularly the safety of those individuals whose intention it is to travel to areas of conflict.
We trust that due process has been followed and will continue to be followed and that these individuals in question will have the opportunity to reclaim their full rights as Canadian citizens in an appropriate manner, as restricting a person's civil rights, including the right to travel freely, is a serious matter which requires an appropriate burden of proof and the opportunity for legal recourse.
It is our hope that there continues to be responsible oversight, fair evaluation, and timely consideration for all Canadians suspected of breaking the law. We trust that the RCMP and Canada's associated security services do take this matter seriously and hope that our fellow Canadians will continue to support our security services in their pursuit of ensuring the safety of all Canadians.
According to the RCMP, the task force continues to watch the actions of nearly 100 Canadians.