Terror charges laid against accused in Canada Muslim attack

AP , Monday 14 Jun 2021

Veltman also faces one count of attempted murder due to terrorism activity

People walk during the multi-faith march to end hatred, starting from the site where a man driving a pickup truck struck and killed four members of a Muslim family and ending at the London Muslim Mosque, in London, Ontario, Canada on June 11, 2021 AFP

Prosecutors laid terrorism charges Monday against a man accused of driving down and killing four members of a Muslim family in London, Ontario.

The prosecution said Nathaniel Veltman's four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism and prosecutors have upgraded those charges under Canada's criminal code. Police allege the incident was a planned and premeditated attack targeting Muslims.

Veltman also faces one count of attempted murder due to terrorism activity.

The upgraded charges were laid as Veltman made a brief court appearance via video Monday morning. He has yet to enter a plea.

Salman Afzaal, 46, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal were killed while out for an evening walk on June 6.

The couple's nine-year-old son, Fayez, was seriously injured but is expected to recover.

Saboor Khan, a friend of the family, said upgrading the charges against Veltman was ``the right thing to do.?

``The family and the community has been terrorized and many of us are afraid to leave our homes,? Khan said.

A funeral for the family drew hundreds of mourners to the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario over the weekend.

Veltman's next court date is scheduled for June 21.

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