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Crown seeks life in prison for Edmonton ISIS-connected van attacker

Abdulahi Hasan Sharif was able to avoid terrorism charges despite investigators discovering an ISIS flag in his car.

Lawyers representing the crown are arguing that the man found guilty of perpetrating the Edmonton van attack deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. 

In 2017, Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, attacked a police officer and struck four pedestrians with a U-Haul van. 

Crown lawyer, Shelly Bykewich described the actions as “unrelenting and deliberate.”

“A fit and proper sentence for the attempted murder of Const. Chernyk would be a life sentence,” said Bykewich. 

During the attack, Sharif hit Constable Michael Chernyk with the van and then proceeded to stab him in the head and chest. He then went on to run over the four innocent pedestrians. 

Sharif was found guilty of 11 charges in October, including several counts of attempted murder, fleeing from police causing bodily harm and aggravated assault. 

He was able to avoid terrorism charges despite investigators discovering an ISIS flag in his car. According to a former co-worker Sharif allegedly held “genocidal beliefs” and would praise ISIS terrorism. 

Authorities knew about Sharif before the attack took place but deemed he was no threat to society upon further investigation. 

Sharif crossed into Canada illegally in 2012 and was granted refugee status despite the fact that U.S. authorities had ordered him to be deported. According to former Liberal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, Sharif raised no “red flags” for Canadian authorities. 

Prior to being found guilty, Sharif’s victims spoke out about the suffering they have had to endure. According to one victim, Kim O’Hara claims that she has been struggling with anxiety and depression since the attack took place and was even having suicidal thoughts. 

Former U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy called on the Department of Homeland Security to investigate how Sharif was able to get into Canada and perpetrate the attack. 

“More than one year has passed since the attack, and it appears there has been no comprehensive study of the incident. Therefore, the Committee requests the Office of the Inspector General investigate the circumstances that allowed Sharif to enter the United States, then Canada, and carry out the attack,” wrote Gowdy in a letter to the department.

During a sentencing hearing, Edmonton Police Chief, Dale McFee told the court that the incident is still remembered at the police department.

“The jury might have thought that for the officers involved, this was just another day at the office. But if they had seen past the badge the uniform the person wearing it, they might have had a different perspective. This was not just another day at the office, it was a stranger trying to kill people,” said McFee. 

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