Prosecutors on Monday charged a man accused of driving down and killing four members of a Muslim family in London, Ontario with terrorism.
The prosecution said Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism and prosecutors have upgraded those charges under Canada's criminal code.
Police allege the incident was a planned and premeditated attack targeting Muslims. Veltman also faces one count of attempted murder due to terrorism activity.
The upgraded charges were laid as Veltman made a brief court appearance via video Monday morning. He has yet to enter a plea.
Salman Afzaal, 46, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna and her 74-year-old grandmother Talat Afzaal were killed while out for an evening walk on June 6. The couple’s nine-year-old son, Fayez, was seriously injured but is expected to recover.
The killings sent shock waves across the country and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his sorrow last week in parliament as politicians paid tribute to the victims, first with a moment of silence and then with words.
"Lately, a lot of Canadians have been enjoying evening walks to get a bit of fresh air after long days at home during this pandemic," Trudeau said. "On Sunday, in London, Ontario, that's what a grandmother, two parents and two children went out to do ... but unlike every other night, this family never made it home."
"Their lives were taken in a brutal, cowardly and brazen act of violence. This killing was no accident. This was a terrorist attack, motivated by hatred, in the heart of one of our communities," he said. The leaders of the other three political parties also condemned the attack.
"Freedom to worship can't exist without freedom from fear, and every Canadian has a right to that," said Erin O'Toole, head of the Conservative Party. More details about the Afzaal family have emerged since the killings.
Fayez attends the London Islamic School, while his sister, Yumna, graduated from the school last year and was a ninth-grade student at Oakridge Secondary School, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported.
Their mother, Madiha, completed post-graduate work in civil and environmental engineering so she could get a job and work on environmental issues. Salman was described as a humble man who was involved in projects at the local mosque.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.