Immigration and Refugee Board offices in Vancouver (Google Maps)

B.C. man facing deportation says terror accusation left him traumatized

Othman Hamdan was acquitted of terrorism-related charges by a B.C. Supreme Court judge in September

A B.C. man who faces deportation over his Facebook posts allegedly promoting terrorist attacks in the name of the Islamic State group says he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to false accusations.

Othman Hamdan was acquitted of terrorism-related charges by a B.C. Supreme Court judge last September but immigration authorities arrested him and have determined at multiple detention reviews that he poses a danger to the public.

On Tuesday, Hamdan told a hearing of the Immigration and Refugee Board that he was living a peaceful life in Fort St. John when he was arrested for allegedly calling for lone wolf attacks through Facebook.

“I was found innocent from all of these false accusations but I’m still being incarcerated,” he said, adding he has received about eight months of therapy from a psychologist.

He said his arrest following his acquittal made him relive the experience of the prosecution “over and over again,” to the point that it has undone the therapy that allowed him to manage his symptoms.

“Please forgive me if I show some of these symptoms, like agitation,” said Hamdan.

READ MORE: B.C. man cleared of terror charges is security risk, RCMP officer testified

Hamdan is a Jordanian national who said he moved the United States to study electrical engineering but faced discrimination after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, prompting him to move to the Vancouver area in July 2002.

He told the hearing he had several Facebook accounts, including those using an old family moniker and the first name Adam because it was easier for westerners to pronounce.

Hamdan said his posts initially included poetry and were accessible to friends and family but as he began criticizing Islamic clergy for their hypocrisy, along with the Muslim Brotherhood and governments beyond the Middle East, he gained thousands of followers with whom he debated religion and politics.

“I went from a nobody to a somebody who had thousands of followers,” he said.

He said his posts of political satire and support for people struggling through the Arab Spring that started in Tunisia in 2010 and spread to other Middle Eastern countries invited activists who could also post to his timeline.

Eighty-five posts were called into question during the trial, which a judge concluded may have been offensive to some people but did not constitute terrorism.

Hamdan has repeatedly cited his acquittal at detention review hearings that have been held every 30 days since his incarceration. The Immigration and Refugee Board said the security allegations it reviews involve a different standard of proof.

He told the hearing that posts suggesting Canada had weak infrastructure, including a dam in Revelstoke, B.C., were merely meant to contrast different attitudes to infrastructure compared with the Middle East.

The RCMP’s investigation did not capture entire transcripts of many posts including those about the Islamic State group, so much of what he said to a growing group of activists is being taken out of context, Hamdan added.

In response to his lawyer, Peter Edelmann, Hamdan said he was not doing any research on any infrastructure in Canada.

The Immigration and Refugee Board has said at previous detention hearings that many of Hamdan’s posts would likely encourage violence against Canadians.

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Spartans clinch first place in Pacific Division with win over UBC

It was ‘a really physical battle in a crosstown rivalry’ coach says

VIDEO: G-Men seek revenge Saturday night in rematch at Langley Events Centre

Portland’s Winterhawks downed the Vancouver Giants 5-3 during a road trip down south.

UPDATE: Abbotsford murder victim was brother of slain gang leader

Mandeep Grewal gunned down Thursday, brother Gavin killed in North Van in 2017

Man who sexually assaulted teen in Abbotsford is declared dangerous offender

Anton Foulds has more than 30 convictions, dating back to 1991

LETTER: Retired firefighter defends union’s election involvement

In rebuttal to another letter writer’s stance on firefighter involvement in municipal politics.

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Prank pizzas delivered to B.C. mayor on election night

The fake orders happened throughout Victoria mayor’s re-election campaign

Chilliwack voters reject anti-SOGI school board candidates

Slate, including Barry Neufeld, had opposed anti-bullying LGBTQ teaching resource

MLA to become Nanaimo’s next mayor, could weaken NDP’s grasp on power

Leonard Krog’s win will trigger a byelection when he gives up his provincial seat

Horvat nets OT winner as Canucks beat Bruins 2-1

Young Vancouver star had spirited scrap earlier in contest

Team Canada gold medal winners for first time in world curling championship

Team Canada earned gold in Kelowna at the 2018 Winn Rentals World Mixed Curling Championship

3 in serious condition after altercation on Granville strip: police

Patrol officers came upon the fight just after 3 a.m. on Granville Street near Helmcken Street

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Pedestrian rushed to Lower Mainland hospital after being hit by car

Friday night crash is latest in rash of collisions involving pedestrians in Surrey

Most Read