Toronto, February 1st, 2019
A Toronto resident and former student of Ryerson University has been found guilty of attempting to leave Canada to join the terrorist group ISIS in Syria.
At a court appearance today in Toronto, Pamir Hakimzadah pleaded guilty to the charge and faces up to ten years in prison for the offence. The 29-year old former engineering student reportedly told friends and family that he was leaving to visit Montreal, but instead flew to Holland and then to Turkey where he was reported as trying to reach ISIS and “join the fight for Allah”. A Turkish taxi driver reported Hakimzadah to the Turkish counter-terrorism police who deported Hakimzada back to Canada.
“The purpose of Pamir’s trip was to enter Syria via Turkey. There he intended to join a terrorist group known as ISIS or Daesh,” according to an Agreed Statement of Facts. He becomes the fifth Canadian convicted of leaving to join a terrorist organization. Hakimzadah will return to court of February 26th.
ISIS, or Islamic State, is said to be virtually defeated, having lost 95% of the territory that it held in 2014, roughly the period in which Hakimzadah left Canada to join the fighting. US-led forces have pushed Islamic State to the brink of extinction and American President Donald Trump has began a pull out American Forces from Syria, declaring ISIS defeated. The decision is unpopular and seen as premature.
The government’s 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada, released last month, said extremists “inspired by violent Sunni Islamist ideology” remained Canada’s top terrorism threat.
The report said an estimated 190 “extremist travelers” were abroad — about half of them in Syria, Iraq and Turkey while another 60 have returned to Canada.