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Canada’s white supremacist gets life sentence for killing Muslim family

24-02-2024

LONDON, ONTARIO: A Canadian white supremacist who deliberately ran over four members of a Muslim family has been sentenced to life in prison for the murders.

Nathaniel Veltman, 23, was convicted in November of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder for the attack that shocked Canada.

Salman Afzaal, 46; his wife, Madiha Salman, 44; their daughter Yumnah, 15; and Afzaal’s mother, Talat, 74, were killed. The couple’s nine-year-old son suffered serious injuries but survived.

The family had been out for a walk near their home in the town of London, Ontario, at the time of the attack.

The judge in the case said Veltman’s attack represented an act of terrorism, the first time that the term has been used to describe white nationalist violence.

“I find that the offender’s actions constitute terrorist activity,” Judge Renee Pomerance of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice said at this sentencing on Thursday.

The 2021 attack was the worst against Canadian Muslims since a man gunned down six members of a Quebec City mosque in 2017.

Prosecutors noted Veltman had written a manifesto in which he outlined hatred of Islam and opposition to mass immigration and multiculturalism.

Shortly after the assault, Veltman said, “I did it. I killed those people.”

Veltman pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder. His defence, citing what it called Veltman’s mental challenges, said the actions amounted to a lesser charge of manslaughter.

In November last year, A Canadian man inspired by white nationalist beliefs has been found guilty of murdering four members of a Muslim family by running them over with a pick-up truck in an attack that sent waves of shock, grief and fear across the country and spurred calls to tackle Islamophobia.

On Thursday, 22-year-old Nathaniel Veltman, who had railed against immigration and Islam, was convicted of attacking the family in the Ontario town of London in June 2021.

Prosecutors called the attack an act of “terrorism”, and Veltman, convicted on four counts of first-degree murder and one of attempted murder, faces life imprisonment with no chance for parole for 25 years.

During the 10-week trial, the jury heard that Veltman had authored a far-right screed in which he described his hatred of Islam and opposition to mass immigration and multiculturalism.

After driving directly into the family, Veltman gave himself up to the police and said he had wanted to “send a strong message” against Muslim immigration. (Int’l News Desk)

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