Terrorism in Veltman Murder Case

London (Ontario) – February 22, 2024 – Today, in the Ontario Superior Court in London, Justice Pomerance found that the crimes of 23-year-old Nathaniel Veltman constitute terrorist activity. This is an acknowledgement that the offender’s horrendous attack was directed at Muslims and designed to intimidate all Muslims in Canada and spread a message seeking to tear apart the fabric of Canadian society through hate and division.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment without eligibility for parole for 25 years for the first-degree murder of Talat Salman, Syed Salman Afzaal, Madiha Salman, and Yumnah Afzaal. He was also sentenced to life imprisonment for the attempted murder of the youngest member of the Afzaal family, the lone survivor, who was only nine years old at the time of the attack.

On November 16, 2023, the offender was found guilty by a jury of all charges for deliberately running over the Afzaal family in his Dodge Ram pickup truck on June 6, 2021, because they were Muslim. During the 12-week trial, the jury heard evidence that the offender was motivated by right-wing extremist and Islamophobic views, describing himself as a “White Nationalist”. He wrote a justification for his attack that was racist and dehumanized Muslims. At trial, the Crown outlined how the offender prepared for the attack, including his purchase of body armour, and the truck that ultimately became the murder weapon. The attack has left the Muslim community devastated.

George Dolhai, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions had this to say: “Today’s sentence denounces these planned and deliberate murders as terrorism. The PPSC is committed to protecting the dignity of each person’s contribution to Canadian society through the fundamental choices they make about their beliefs and their daily expression of those beliefs.” Federal prosecutor Sarah Shaikh added that “the finding of terrorist activity is very important as it acknowledges that Islamophobia and attacks directed at people because of their beliefs can never be condoned and must be denounced in the strongest possible terms.”

This case was prosecuted by both the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, and the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario.

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada is a national organization responsible for prosecuting offences under federal jurisdiction in a manner that is free of any improper influence and that respects the public interest. The PPSC is also responsible for providing prosecution-related advice to law enforcement agencies across Canada.

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