Immigration and Refugee Board offices in Vancouver (Google Maps)

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
67 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty people in the region are hospitalized with the virus, 11 of whom are intensive care

An animal carrier full of bullet holes and containing a dead animal was found near Castlegar. Photo: Colleen Schwartz
Castlegar woman finds dead animal inside carrier riddled with bullet holes

The remains were discovered near Syringa Creek Provincial Park

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. As of April 19, more than 230,000 doses have been administered across the Interior Health region. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
More than 230K doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered across Interior Health

A total of 220,216 first doses and 13,775 second doses have been given to residents across the B.C. Interior

Four homes in Johnson Flats were at serious risk of falling into a neighbourhood section of the Kettle River, according to capital project manager Justin Dinsdale. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks shields riverside homes against erosion

Crews have built a modified dike along a section of the Kettle River in Johnson Flats

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
Man arrested in incident at Canada-U.S. border near Roosville

A man who crossed the border illegally was apprehended by U.S. officials

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read