RCMP arrest Toronto man for allegedly leaving Canada to join ISIS

Man arrested for leaving Canada to join ISIS is in court today

The RCMP have arrested and charged a Toronto man for allegedly leaving the country to join ISIS. 

Pamir Hakimzadah, 27, was taken into custody as part of a national criminal investigation, Project Sachet, which began in January 2016.

According to the RCMP, Hakimzadah allegedly travelled to Turkey in the fall of 2014 with the intention of joining ISIS and participating in terrorist activity. 

He was returned to Canada after being detained by Turkish authorities. 

Hakimzadah is expected to appear in court Thursday.

The RCMP said they worked with the Toronto Police Service on the investigation.

The Mounties say there was no risk to public safety, but are asking citizens to "remain vigilant" and report any information they may have on terrorism or suspicious activity to the National Security Information Network at 1-800-420-5805.

'Could set legal precedent'

Phil Gurski, a former analyst with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, believes this charge is the first of its kind in Canada.

People have been charged before they leave Canada, he said, but "this is the first one that I'm aware of someone who is returning, or in this case, having been returned by an allied service, i.e. the [Turkish authorities]." 

Under the current legislation, an individual can be charged with leaving or attempting to leave the country with the intent of committing an act of terrorism.

Acts committed outside Canada can be prosecuted and facilitating terrorism in another country is also illegal. 

"People who've returned to date, to the best of my knowledge, no one has been charged with a terrorism offence," Gurski said. "Some have been charged with passport fraud or misrepresentation."

"This in fact might set legal precedent in this country."