The trial of the alleged murderer of a 13-year-old Burnaby teen began on Wednesday, six years after the accused was arrested. 

Ibrahim Ali, who is a refugee from Syria, was arrested in Sept. 2018, months after the girl’s body was discovered.

Ali pleaded not guilty in a packed courtroom. 

Ali has been charged with first-degree murder and has been in custody since his arrest.

Tens of thousands of pages of evidence have been filed by Crown prosecutors in the trial, which is expected to last through the Summer. 

Prior court appearances have seen protests blaming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s immigration and refugee policies for the murder. 

In 2019, protesters holding signs that read “Hold Trudeau accountable” and “Punish murderers” demonstrated outside of the Vancouver courthouse. 

Ali was identified as a suspect following an investigation into over 2,000 candidates. 

Editor’s Note: The B.C. Crown Prosecution Service has indicated that a publication ban has been placed on the girl’s name.