A Quebec woman repatriated from a prison camp in Syria is accused of terrorism

Oumaima Chouay, 27, became the first Quebec woman to be repatriated to Canada on Wednesday to be charged with terrorism after leaving the country eight years ago to join the armed group Islamic State in Syria.

Mme Chouay, originally from Pierrefonds, was repatriated from a Syrian prison camp where she had been detained for nearly five years.

She is currently detained at the headquarters of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), in Westmount, and must appear in the afternoon this Wednesday by videoconference at the Montreal courthouse.

According to Inspector David Beaudoin, head of the RCMP’s Integrated National Security Team (INSET), she « would have participated in terrorist activities on behalf of [du groupe] Islamic State. In November 2017, Mr.me Chouay was taken prisoner by the Syrian Democratic Forces. She remained detained in Camp Roj in Syria until her return to Canada. His repatriation to Quebec allows us to recommend the laying of terrorism charges.”

She will face four terrorism-related charges of leaving Canada to participate in the activities of a terrorist group, participation in terrorist activities, providing goods or services for terrorist purposes and conspiracy to leave Canada to participate in the activities of a terrorist group.

Mme Chouay, who was 19 when she left Canada, arrived at Trudeau International Airport around 2 a.m. Wednesday with her two foreign-born children.

“The situation of the children has been an ongoing concern for RCMP investigators. In this case, the RCMP made sure to solicit the contribution of the CIUSSS and the family to ensure that the children benefit from the best possible supervision from the moment of their return to Canadian soil, « said the inspector. Beaudouin.

Oumaima Chouay had been under investigation by the RCMP’s Integrated National Security Team since her departure in November 2014.

Another repatriated Canadian

In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recalled that “traveling to support terrorism is a crime in Canada and anyone traveling to support terrorism should face criminal charges”.

Mr. Trudeau was careful not to comment on the Oumaima Chouay case, but added that “it is important that people know that we cannot support terrorism in this country with impunity, regardless of the circumstances”.

The Prime Minister added that his government is closely monitoring the situation in Syria and has given itself a framework to proceed in cases similar to that of Ms.me Chouay.

Another Canadian, Kimberly Polman from British Columbia, was also repatriated overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday and was on her way to Vancouver, where she is also due to appear.

Reached by The Canadian Press, his lawyer, Me Lawrence Greenspon, said he believed that Mr.me Polman would be required to sign a peace bond with a series of conditions.

The lawyer added that his client had been repatriated due to her precarious state of health. He described the conditions of detention in the Syrian camp as « brutal ».

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