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London attack: a terrorist act and life imprisonment | London attack: trial of the accused

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Judge Renée Pomerance sentenced the perpetrator of the London attack to life in prison on Thursday.

  • Katherine Brulotte (View profile)Katherine Brulotte

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The perpetrator of the attack on a London Muslim family in 2021 has been sentenced to life in prison and will not be eligible for parole only after serving 25 years. His attack was also considered an act of terrorism by the Ontario Superior Court.

Nathaniel Veltman, 23, was convicted in November of the premeditated murders of four members of the Afzaal family and attempted murder of the youngest member of the family. The family was hit by the man's truck while walking in the neighborhood.

Madiha Salman, 44, her husband Salman Afzaal, 46, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna and her grandmother Talat Afzaal were killed in the attack. The couple's son was seriously injured.

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The Afzaal family. From left to right: Yumna Afzaal, Madiha Salman, Talat Afzaal and Salman Afzaal (File photo)

Une A life sentence is automatically attached to each of the four charges of premeditated murder. Superior Court Judge Renée Pomerance also determined that the murderer must serve the same sentence for the attempted murder of the child injured in the attack.

< h3 class="!font-display text-5 xsToSm:text-4 leading-5 font-bold">London attack: trial of the accused

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London attack: trial of the accused

Consult the complete file


The sentences are concurrent.

The action of rushing into a family was barbaric.

A quote from Renée Pomerance, judge of the Superior Court of Ontario

Canada's terrorism laws were invoked for the first time in a first-degree murder trial.

The Crown sought the sentence of life imprisonment for the attempted murder; instead, the defense asked for a 10-year sentence. One of the perpetrator's lawyers, Christopher Hicks, said he found the life sentence excessive.

The defense said it would speak to its client to determine whether it will appeal the decision.

Prosecutor Sarah Shaikh argued that Nathaniel Veltman had a hateful, intolerant and Islamophobic ideology in front of the media. The killer's attack targeted not only the family, but also the entire Muslim community, she said.

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Prosecutor Sarah Shaikh to her arrived at the London courthouse on February 22.

On leaving the courthouse, Tabinda Bukhari, the mother of Madiha Salman, stressed that the sentence imposed by the judge would not bring back what was stolen from the family.

The trial was not just about one act, she thinks. It's a stark reminder that fault lines exist within our society, she notes.

According to Ali Islam, uncle of Madiha Salman, several communities will feel safe in the future thanks to Judge Pomerance's judgment.

Judge Pomerance announced from the outset as part of the reading of her decision on Nathaniel's sentence Veltman that the murderer left his apartment on the evening of June 6, 2021 with the intention of killing Muslims.

He drove the streets of London dressed in a combat uniform.

A quote from Renée Pomerance, judge of the Superior Court of Ontario

The magistrate recalled that he was a big consumer of far-right content on the Internet and manifestos linked to the ideology of white supremacy. The Crown argued during the trial that Nathaniel Veltman was a white supremacist who planned to commit a violent act.

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Ontario Superior Court Justice Renée Pomerance during the trial

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The judge says the murderer wanted to inspire other acts of violence. Nathaniel Veltman remained impassive when reading the decision.

Renée Pomerance also avoided naming the murderer in his entire decision, calling him the accused.

The author of a first-degree murder is automatically sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years. The penalty for attempted murder can vary.

Canada's special representative in charge of the fight against Islamophobia, Amira Elghawaby, believes that the recognition of the terrorist act by the court will have will have a profound impact on Canadian society as a whole and will provide some comfort to communities who demand that our laws and institutions be fair and just.

She also believes the decision sends a clear message that Canada's Muslim communities must be protected from violent extremism.

Relatives of the victims spoke of an insurmountable emotional disaster at their sentencing hearing in January. They were then able to describe who the members of the decimated family were.

Salman Afzaal, the father of family, was the most radiant person, said his sister, Ayesha Shaukat. Her brother was overflowing with kindness.

When she was an undergraduate in Pakistan, Madiha Salman was the only woman of its engineering program. But that didn't discourage her, her mother, Tabinda Bukhari, told the audience.

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Tabinda Bukhari, the mother of Madiha Salman, one of the victims of the London attack in 2021, was among the relatives heard by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. (Archive image)

She became my best friend growing up. We have a wonderful bond and discuss all kinds of topics.

A quote from Tabinda Bukhari, about her daughter, Madiha Salman

Talat Afzaal was a retired teacher and artist who mostly painted landscapes, until she began creating cartoon characters for her grandchildren.

Friends of Yumna Afzaal praised the girl during the sentencing hearing.

Yumna was more than a friend: she was a confidant, a support network, a classmate, a partner. study and a keeper of secrets, said her friend, Maryam Alsabawi.

With information from The Canadian Press

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116