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Teen accused of promoting terrorism

A rural Westman youth has been charged with a terrorism offence for allegedly using social media to encourage violence on behalf of the Islamic State.

His arrest was the result of an investigation that involved the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP’s National Security Enforcement Section.

The 16-year-old, who can’t be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, appeared briefly in Brandon provincial court on Thursday.

Crown attorney Grant Hughes spoke to the matter, requesting a remand because the investigation continues and further charges may be coming.

Hughes said one computer had already been searched.

The boy’s home was also searched on Wednesday and a computer tower was seized. Another warrant is needed to search the computer itself, Hughes said.

The boy’s case was put to Monday and he remains in custody.

Meanwhile, there are more questions than answers.

What can be said is that the youth is charged under Section 83.2 of the Criminal Code — counselling the commission of assault causing bodily harm at the direction of, or in association with, a terrorist group.

Authorities have confirmed that group is ISIS.

The charge, however, doesn’t specify who was to be the target of the suggested assault. However, a target doesn’t have to be specified under that offence, said federal Crown attorney Ian Mahon, who is handling the prosecution for that particular charge.

The charge as laid, however, suggests the assault was carried out by another individual.

Mahon didn’t go into too many details, but likened the case to that of Aaron Driver of Winnipeg in the sense that it involves social media messages.

"It’s of a similar nature," Mahon said.

Published reports said that Driver posted messages on social media that praised terrorist activities, including the attack last October on Parliament Hill by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.

Driver isn’t charged with an offence, but he’s challenging an attempt by federal authorities to limit his activities.

In the case of the Westman youth, Mahon confirmed that books, notebooks and computer equipment were seized from his home on Wednesday.

But, because he hadn’t seen those items, Mahon couldn’t speak to their nature or contents, or to what investigators would be looking for within them.

Mahon said the case was based on a tip to authorities and had been investigated for "some time." It began with an investigation into the terrorism aspect, but investigators also found child porn on a seized computer.

Besides the terrorism offence, the boy is charged with possessing and accessing child porn. Hughes said the images were violent, and said to include girls aged 7 to 14 years tied up and being assaulted by men.

It appears the boy has no prior criminal record, in Manitoba at least.

Mahon said he wouldn’t comment at this point whether there was any specific plan for the boy to travel overseas to fight for ISIS, or a plan to harm any Canadian authorities.

Of note is that the boy isn’t charged with facilitating a terrorist activity, nor leaving Canada to participate in terrorist activity.

The Crown attorney also confirmed a report that the boy had visited the Brandon Islamic Centre in an effort to convert to Islam.

The Brandon Sun is aware that CSIS was also investigating the boy.

» ihitchen@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @IanHitchen

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 6, 2015

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A rural Westman youth has been charged with a terrorism offence for allegedly using social media to encourage violence on behalf of the Islamic State.

His arrest was the result of an investigation that involved the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP’s National Security Enforcement Section.

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A rural Westman youth has been charged with a terrorism offence for allegedly using social media to encourage violence on behalf of the Islamic State.

His arrest was the result of an investigation that involved the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP’s National Security Enforcement Section.

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