On January 29th, 2018 the Syrian refugee accused of the grisly murder of 13-year old Marrisa Shen made a brief court appearance in a Vancouver court house.
A sizeable crowd of protestors, mainly from the Chinese community gathered outside of the Provincial Court of British Columbia to denounce the Liberal government's immigration and refugee policies.
Members of the community held signs that read "Hold Trudeau Accountable", "CBC, Report The Truth!", and "Justin Trudeau, Where Is Your Heart?", among others.
The crowd also chanted "Trudeau always wastes taxpayer money!", and "Trudeau out, safety back!"
Burnaby South, PCP Candidate Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson was also at the protest, where she delivered remarks to the crowd and mingled with members of the community.
First-degree murder charges
Mr. Ali is facing a first-degree murder charge for the death of the 13-year old Burnaby girl. He was represented during the hearing by his defense counsel Veen Aldosky.
The first-degree murder charge is usually reserved for premeditated and deliberated killings.
However, police insist that Ibrahim and Marrisa had no prior knowledge of one another and that the crime was totally random.
Other possible motives for the first-degree charge are terrorism, kidnapping, contract killings and sexual violence, among others.
The Criminal Code of Canada names three different cases of sexual violence which fall under the first-degree murder charge: sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, and aggravated sexual assault.
The disappearance of Marrisa Shen
On July 28th, 2017, only 10 days after her death, Marrisa was laid to rest by her family.
Peter Shen, her 24-year-old brother, said of Marrisa’s birth at her funeral, “When Marrisa finally came, it was a breath of fresh air. She was the shining beacon that heralded the end of my loneliness in this world. I knew that even if I had lost everyone in this world, I would have one person to have my back. It was Marrisa and me together, against this world.”
Marrisa Shen was described by a classmate as “a good girl and she was very friendly. I will miss her.”
Marrisa was last seen at a Tim Hortons near her house and was discovered dead only 7 hours afterwards. A video shows Marrisa leaving the Tim Hortons alone, not pursued and seemingly safe.
In July, while the murder was still unsolved, Marrisa’s family released a letter asking the community for help to bring Marrisa’s killer to justice.
Ibrahim Ali identified as suspect
The identification of the suspect would have not been possible without the hard work of The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT).
The IHIT worked for over a year to narrow down to a single suspect. RCMP Superintendent Donna Richardson claimed that over 2,000 people were investigated as persons of interest in the case.
Ibrahim Ali is a Syrian national and permanent resident of Canada. He had family currently residing in the country and was privately sponsored by St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church in Vancouver and a group of families in the Bowen Island area.
A family friend of Ali’s said, “We know what radicals in Syria do to women and children… I never expected someone in this family would do something like this.” Rape, sexual torture and violence have been common occurrences plaguing both sides of the long-standing civil war in Syria.
Although Trudeau made a commitment not to bring single unaccompanied men into the country, the private sponsorship system has circumvented even federal authority.
Ali was in Canada for only 4 months before he allegedly committed the heinous murder and had family living near the location of the crime.
Lawyer representing Ibrahim Ali defending another man set to be deported for gang activity
Since his second court appearance, Mr. Ali has been represented by his defense counsel, Veen Aldosky.
Aldosky defended another man, Aram Ali in April 2018 who was convicted for aggravated assault and discharging a firearm. Aram Ali was a member of the UN gang and is set to be deported back to Iraq for his criminal activity.
Ms. Aldosky is filing an appeal with the Immigration and Refugee Board on his behalf.
Ali's defense has asked for the 10,000+ pages of evidence to be transferred to her for review before the trial moves forward.
Crown prosecutor, Daniel Port, is in the process of making these files available to the defense.
The next hearing has been scheduled for March 5th.