A 30-year-old Toronto man was arrested by the RCMP on a terrorism peace bond in April and released on a number of conditions, VICE World News has learned. The arrest comes years after he was convicted for a string of crimes including robbing a hotel and making violent threats against staff while in jail, according to parole documents.
As part of his release in May on the pending peace bond, Daniel Khoshnood has been ordered to abide by 16 conditions that prohibit him from communicating with two women including a British Columbia-based psychologist, accessing any social media platform, possessing any electronic communication device, and possessing or viewing “any violent extremist materials...or any listed Terrorist Entity materials.”
The court documents do not indicate a specific terrorist entity or activity, but state Khoshnood may “participate in or contribute to … any activity of a terrorist group…” The reasons for the fear of terrorism accusation against Khoshnood are currently subject to a publication ban.
“As this is still in the court process, the RCMP is unable to provide specific details,” an RCMP spokesperson told VICE World News in an email.
Khoshnood’s lawyer, Paul Scotland, told VICE World News in a phone call that “my client has instructed me to give no comment.”
Under Canadan counter-terrorism law, police may apply for a terrorism peace bond and request the court impose bail-like conditions on suspects without formally charging them with a crime. Canada’s peace bond system was overhauled in 2015 by the previous Conservative government’s anti-terrorism agenda to lower the threshold for police to show that someone will commit terrorism to someone “may” commit terrorism. Terrorism peace bonds have been predominately used on people accused of supporting ISIS or al-Qaeda, or their splinter groups, not far-right extremism.
“What the imposition of a terrorism peace bond indicates is that law enforcement, for a variety of reasons, is worried an individual is going to commit some sort of terrorist act. They are useful for police because they can obtain a peace bond without the same evidence needed for a full-on prosecution, but also puts several restrictions on the individual,” Amarnath Amarasingam, a terrorism researcher and assistant professor at the school of religion at Queen’s University, told VICE World News.
Amarasingam said peace bonds have been used in terrorism-related cases at least 20 times in recent years.
Khoshnood is currently the only person in Canada facing a pending terrorism peace bond. In May, Kevin Mohamed, who was previously convicted for terrorism, entered into a four-year terrorism peace bond.
Parole documents from 2017 and 2019 obtained by VICE World News paint a disturbing picture of Khoshnood’s criminal past, propensity for threatening violence, and points to concerns about his risk of recidivism if released from detention.
“You were detained based on the seriousness of your offences, displaying little to no remorse, your violent tendencies and having no strategies to manage yourself in the community,” the Parole Board wrote in a 2019 decision that denied his release at that time.
A previous parole decision from 2017 indicates Khoshnood was sentenced to serve more than seven years in prison after he was convicted of robbing a hotel in 2012 in Ontario while armed with a handgun, bear spray, and a taser. “[Y]ou bear-sprayed two males in the front lobby and used your firearm to threaten the victims as you demanded money from two female clerks who were behind the front desk,” the decision reads. “Serious psychological harm was deemed to have occurred.”
After the hotel robbery, Khoshnood tried twice to rob a jewelry store “but were foiled on the first attempt by the security system.” He then disguised himself and tried again, but the store owner wouldn’t buzz him in. He was apprehended by police after a struggle in which he attempted to grab his firearm.
At his sentencing for this, the decision states the judge remarked Khoshnood was “lucky the officer was able to subdue you without having to shoot you in self-defence.”
The decision goes on to describe other convictions against Khoshnood stemming from an attempted robbery of a man in a park in 2010.
While in pre-trial custody, the decision states that Khoshnood had nine misconducts from March to June of 2012 including “commits/threats assault” and “gives/offers a bribe to an employee.”
“You reportedly expressed a desire to kill a Correctional Officer or Police Officer. File content has also indicated that you fashioned weapons from a razor blade with which you threatened staff … you threatened to fashion additional weapons to achieve your purpose.” Other incidents are described in detail including threatening to “shoot or shank staff daily.”
The decision refers to a psychological report that was completed in his case in 2016 that noted Khoshnood’s “difficult and chaotic childhood.” The psychologist who conducted that report noted Khoshnood has “no history of major mental illness, nor were any symptoms of a major mental illness noted during the interview.”
The psychologist determined that Khoshnood had not acted violently while at the maximum security institution. “The psychologist observed the ease with which you speak of such violent and concerning phenomena. He suggests this type of discourse reflects a way of thinking that makes it possible for you to act in these ways and may indicate violent fantasies,” the decision continues.
The decision also notes that sometime in March 2013, Khoshnood requested “books on ‘Islamic Extremist Militant Groups’ and the ‘Iranian Revolutionary Guard Military Group.’”
Addressing Khoshnood in its decision, the board said: “You also wrote on a piece of paper (that you knew staff would find), that you wanted to find information on bomb making techniques, chemicals used to make bombs, and that you wanted to learn how a specific terrorist made car bombs that ‘killed 77 people LOL.’ It was also noted that at intake you asked for and received counselling for ‘gory’ and troubling thoughts. You told the psychologist that you had thoughts of ‘shooting people, killing people, cutting them up, just for fun ... they're just thoughts though.’”
In the end, the parole board suggested that “counselling sessions with a religious figure such as an Imam may have some impact on your present way of thinking. However, you reportedly do not want psychological counselling.” The board ordered Khoshnood to remain detained.
“You are likely, if released, to commit an offence causing death or serious harm to another person before the expiration of your sentence,” the decision states.
The later parole decision from 2019 found that while Khoshnood’s “institutional behaviour improved” since 2017 and he began attending school and other programs, he still demonstrated a “continuation of...disregard for persoons in position of authority and a lack of insight.” Another psychological risk assessment from 2018 rated him as “high to very high risk for general and violent recidivism,” the decision states.
By September 2019, Khoshnood had served his sentence and was therefore released from prison.
For Amarasingam, recidivism is “always a concern for anyone coming out of prison, not just terrorism suspects.”
“[W]e are very good at putting people in prison, but very bad at providing them the support they need while there, and very bad at providing them the structural support afterwards to make sure they can thrive and reintegrate back into society,” Amarasingam said. “But, even if all the necessary support existed, it is at the end of the day up to the individual to decide they need support. If some individuals re-enter society and are intent on resuming their old way of life, there's not much that can be done.”
In addition to the terrorism peace bond application, Khoshnood is also facing criminal charges for breaching a separate non-terrorism peace bond that was laid against him in October of 2019. This type of peace bond, or protection order, is typically designed to impose conditions to prevent someone from committing harm to another person.
According to court documents filed in Newmarket, the York Regional Police arrested Khoshnood in March with breaching the conditions of a non-terrorism peace bond 2019 because he had failed to abide by the condition that he not “associate with any person, other than a family member, who you know to have a criminal record for violence.”
A spokesperson for the York Regional Police said in an email that Khoshnood was “located in a vehicle with a driver who has a criminal record.”
A separate court document shows that Khoshnood was arrested in Toronto on March 23 and charged by the RCMP with another two counts of the same type of breach. He was subsequently released.
He is scheduled to appear in court on those matters later this month. Khoshnood’s next court appearance for the terrorism peace bond is scheduled for this week.
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