Canada: Police Charge Quebec Man with Terrorism over Alleged Haiti Coup Plot

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced on Thursday that Gérald Nicolas, a 51-year-old resident of Lévis, Quebec, will face terrorism charges for allegedly planning "a terrorist act to overthrow Haiti's then-president Jovenel Moïse."

Canada: Police Charge Quebec Man with Terrorism over Alleged Haiti Coup Plot
Image credit: Associated Press [via Al Jazeera]

Facts

  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced on Thursday that Gérald Nicolas, a 51-year-old resident of Lévis, Quebec, will face terrorism charges for allegedly planning "a terrorist act to overthrow Haiti's then-president Jovenel Moïse."
  • Canadian police have stated that the accused — who is charged with leaving Canada to facilitate terrorist activities, facilitating a terrorist activity, and providing property for terrorist purposes — sought to stage an armed revolution in Haiti and ultimately seize power.
  • If convicted, Nicolas could face up to 14 years in jail for the first two counts, and a maximum 10-year sentence for the third.
  • He is also alleged to have visited multiple countries in the Caribbean and South America "to recruit, finance, and also acquire weapons" but was reportedly unable to obtain the weapons he was seeking.
  • In a CBC interview on Thursday, he denied the charges and argued that a former lover had fabricated them by claiming that a humanitarian aid shipment he sent to Haiti, where his half-sister lives, contained illegal materials.
  • RCMP Sgt. Charles Poirier explained that Nicolas, who is expected to appear in court in Quebec City on Dec. 1, isn't in custody as he doesn't pose a threat to Canadians. Poirier added that the investigation is unrelated to the July 2021 killing of Jovenel Moïse.

Sources: Rcmp-Grc, Washington Post, Global News, BBC News, Guardian, and CBC.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Global News. Nicolas fraternized with individuals engaged in taking part in a coup against the Haitian government, and actively planning an armed revolution with the ultimate aim of seizing power. While this is an atypical case, it shows that Canada is committed to holding its citizens accountable even if they break the law in foreign countries.
  • Narrative B, as provided by The Guardian. Nicolas maintains his innocence, and hasn't yet been found guilty of any of the allegations against him. He has asserted that the Lévis authorities are pursuing charges against him based on a story fabricated by his dejected ex-girlfriend. Nicolas has also vehemently claimed he was only a Canadian citizen sending humanitarian packages to Haitians in need, and has even accused the police of racial discrimination.

Predictions