OPP lay charges for hate crimes

TORONTO, July 8 /CNW/ - Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have charged a Mississauga man under a seldom-used section of the Criminal Code of Canada governing hate crimes.

At a news conference in Toronto, Commissioner Julian FANTINO and members of the Provincial Operations Intelligence Bureau's Hate Crimes Extremism Unit outlined details of the charges against 25-year-old Salman An-Noor HOSSAIN. A five-month investigation revealed that a website and blog operated by Mr. HOSSAIN contained information that, among other things, wilfully promoted hatred and advocated genocide of the Jewish community.

Mr. HOSSAIN is charged with:

    
    -   Wilfully promote hatred against an identifiable group,
        Section 319.2 - three (3) counts
    -   Advocate or promote genocide against an identifiable group,
        Section 318.1 - two (2) counts
    

One of the counts of wilfully promote hatred against an identifiable group involved information placed by Mr. HOSSAIN on a third-party website.

"Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms includes the right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly," said OPP Commissioner Julian FANTINO. "But we must not stand idly by when these rights are used as a shield to promote hatred against any community."

"This complex investigation is a tribute to the commitment of members of the Hate Crimes Extremism Unit," added Deputy Commissioner Vince HAWKES, Provincial Commander of Investigations and Organized Crime. "The OPP is confident we'll continue to find those responsible for committing any act motivated by hate and bring them to justice."

Representatives of the Canadian Jewish Congress and B'nai Brith Canada were also in attendance.

    
                                 www.opp.ca

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                                 BACKGROUNDER

                          Hate Crime in Legislation

                           Criminal Code of Canada
                           -----------------------

    -   In the Criminal Code of Canada, a Hate Crime is:
        "A criminal offence committed against a person or property motivated
        solely, or in part, upon the race, national or ethnic origin,
        language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability,
        or sexual orientation."

    -   A hate incident involves behaviour that, though motivated by bias or
        prejudice, is not a criminal act. A hate incident becomes a crime
        when it directly incites others to commit violence against groups, or
        if it places a potential victim or group in fear for their safety.

    -   Hate propaganda is any written, verbal or electronic material that
        advocates or promotes genocide, or makes statements that are likely
        to promote hate against any identifiable group.

    -   Religious mischief is a relatively-new offence in the Criminal Code
        identifying hate-motivated mischief toward religious property.

    -   Upon sentencing, there are provisions in the Criminal Code that call
        for an increased sentence when hate is determined to be an
        aggravating circumstance.

               Relevant Sections of the Criminal Code of Canada
                           Relating to Hate Crime
               ------------------------------------------------

    Advocating genocide
    -------------------

    318. (1) Every one who advocates or promotes genocide is guilty of an
    indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding
    five years.

    Definition of "genocide"

    (2) In this section, "genocide" means any of the following acts committed
    with intent to destroy in whole or in part any identifiable group,
    namely,
        (a) killing members of the group; or
        (b) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life
            calculated to bring about its physical destruction.

    Consent

    (3) No proceeding for an offence under this section shall be instituted
    without the consent of the Attorney General.

    Wilful promotion of hatred
    --------------------------

    319. (2) Every one who, by communicating statements, other than in
    private conversation, wilfully promotes hatred against any identifiable
    group is guilty of:
        (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term
            not exceeding two years; or
        (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

    Consent

    (6) No proceeding for an offence under subsection (2) shall be instituted
    without the consent of the Attorney General.

               UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
               -----------------------------------------------

    -   The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) was adopted by the
        United Nations' General Assembly in 1948 in the aftermath of the
        abuses of the Second World War. 2010 marks its 62nd anniversary.

    -   Included in the Declaration are two rights that are directly relevant
        to policing and the OPP Hate Crime/Extremism Unit:

           -  The right to be equal before the law and not to be
              discriminated against; and
           -  The right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and
              association.


                                 BACKGROUNDER

                    OPP Hate Crimes/Extremism Unit (HCEU)

    -   The Hate Crimes/Extremism Unit is part of the Provincial Operations
        Intelligence Bureau whose mandate it is, in part, to anticipate,
        monitor and assist in the prevention and disruption of criminal
        activities with respect to identifiable persons or groups.

    -   The OPP established a Hate Crime Unit in 1996. In response to the
        9/11 attacks, the name was changed to Hate Crime/Extremism Unit and
        additional resources were assigned.

    -   The OPP Hate Crime/Extremism Unit is mandated to:

           -  Provide investigative support to OPP detachments and municipal
              police services that are investigating incidents or crimes
              motivated by hate or extremism.

           -  Collect, evaluate, collate, analyze, disseminate and
              effectively use intelligence on targeted activities;

           -  Facilitate the exchange of information with other law
              enforcement and government agencies;

           -  Contribute to and maintain a database of relevant intelligence;

           -  Assist in training law enforcement officers to identify and
              investigate hate crimes; and

           -  In partnership with other police services and justice sector
              partners, raise awareness of hate crimes and work toward
              solutions to prevent hate crimes.

    -   The OPP Hate Crime/Extremism Unit has provided intelligence support
        and investigative guidance on several high-profile hate crime
        investigations.

    -   The most recent high-profile case the OPP Hate Crime/Extremism Unit
        has been involved in is the assaults on Asian-Canadian anglers in
        Central Ontario (Peterborough-Lindsay and in York Region).

    -   For more information, visit www.opp.ca


                                 BACKGROUNDER

                           Hate Crime Working Group

    -   The OPP Hate Crime/Extremism Unit has been an active member of the
        Hate Crime Working Group which was formed in 2008.

    -   In May 2005, the Ontario government announced the creation of the
        Hate Crime Community Working Group. The group was mandated to
        recommend ways to better address hate crimes, improve services for
        victims, prevent further victimization, and identify ways to educate
        police and the public about hate crimes.

    -   In December 2006, the Hate Crime Community Working Group released its
        report, which made approximately 96 recommendations directed across
        government ministries, including the Ministry of Community Safety and
        Correctional Services.

    -   The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services is a
        member of the Inter-ministerial Committee and has developed a number
        of initiatives in response to this report, including working with the
        Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) to form the Hate Crimes
        Working Group in 2008.

    -   The Hate Crime Working Group will review the recommendations and
        identify initiatives and/or programs that would respond to those that
        have an impact on the policing community.
    

SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police

For further information: For further information: Sgt. Pierre Chamberland, Media Relations Coordinator, Phone: (705) 329-6878


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