MONTREAL (Reuters) - A 16-year-old Montreal teen, the youngest person charged with terrorism offenses in Canada, expressed disdain for his country in a police videotape played in court on Wednesday, saying the country was run by “infidels” who needed to be overthrown.
The teen, who cannot be named because he is a minor, has pleaded guilty to committing a robbery in 2014 when he was 15 years old. The son of Algerian immigrants is now on trial for alleged terrorism offenses after pleading not guilty to trying to use the stolen money to join a terrorist group in Syria.
Responding to a question, he said Canada was a state of “poly-atheism and infidels” and that it was necessary “to do away with it ... by force if required.”
On Wednesday, the small teen wearing black glasses, a gray T-shirt and a black jacket sat silently in the Montreal courtroom, occasionally closing his eyes as the video from his robbery arrest was played for the court.
During the 2014 interrogation at a Montreal police station, the teen often reacted defiantly, dismissing both his own father and police officer Brahim Soussi, also a Muslim, as apostates.
He told Soussi during the interrogation that it was alright to rob a non-believer and that the money he stole was equivalent to “war booty.” But the teen, who said he learned about Islam online, also admitted to having never read the Koran in its entirety.
Soussi repeatedly challenged the teen’s knowledge of Islam.
The teenager often refused to talk to Soussi.
“I don’t feel like having a conversation with an apostate,” he said. “I understand Islam better than you.”
The defense tried to contest the admissibility of the statement the youth gave to investigators, with his father testifying Wednesday that police would not allow him to join his son at the station. But judge Dominique Wilhelmy ruled that the teen was advised of his rights and spoke freely to officers so the video interview was admissible as evidence.
The father, who immigrated to Canada in 2003, admitted in court to denouncing his own son to police. Montreal newspaper La Presse reported in December that the father called authorities after discovering a backpack stuffed with cash hidden in the yard behind the family’s home.
Montreal police said they arrested the boy in October after he robbed a convenience store with an “edged weapon,” then fled the scene. No one was hurt during the robbery.
Editing by David Gregorio