Ottawa man who lauded Hamas pleads guilty to breaking bail conditions

 OTTAWA — The Crown has asked a judge to consider an Ottawa man’s pro-Hamas comments at a Toronto protest as an aggravating factor when deciding his sentence for breaching the bail conditions of an unrelated charge.  Mohammed Assadi was supposed to be living under house arrest with his sister in Ottawa while out on bail [[{“value”:”

OTTAWA — The Crown has asked a judge to consider an Ottawa man’s pro-Hamas comments at a Toronto protest as an aggravating factor when deciding his sentence for breaching the bail conditions of an unrelated charge. 

Mohammed Assadi was supposed to be living under house arrest with his sister in Ottawa while out on bail on an assault charge, the Crown told an Ottawa courtroom Monday.

But on Oct. 7, Assadi was caught on video at a demonstration in Toronto, where he was heard shouting pro-Hamas messages into a megaphone.

He told the crowd he supported Hamas and Hezbollah, which are both recognized as terrorist organizations in Canada, and called for armed resistance against Israel, Crown attorney Moiz Karimjee said.

The comments were made the same day Hamas launched a surprise attack that killed 1,200 Israelis.

“It requires a sentence that demonstrates the grave nature of his breach,” Karimjee told the court. 

“Here he is in downtown Toronto, advocating for Hamas and armed resistance while on release for crimes of violence.”

Officers found Assadi sleeping in a car in Oshawa, Ont. in November and arrested him.

Karimjee told the court they found a replica firearm among his belongings, which he told police was “for the protests.”

Assadi has no memory of that conversation with police, his lawyer said, but he did not dispute the facts put forward by the Crown.

Protest is not illegal, but it must be done within the confines of the law, Karimjee argued.

“People can protest all that they want, but not supporting a terrorist organization, not advocating for violence and certainly not doing so while in breach of a court order,” he said. 

Assadi pleaded guilty to the bail breach Friday, and a decision on his sentence is expected next week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 29, 2024.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

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