Canadian police have charged a Quebec man with terrorism over allegations he conspired to overthrow the government of the late Haitian president Jovenel Moïse, who was later assassinated in a separate plot.
Gerald Nicolas, 51, stands accused of leaving Canada to facilitate a terrorist activity, facilitating a terrorist activity and providing property for terrorist purposes, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on Thursday.
The federal force said that the investigation was not related to Moïse’s assassination in 2021, when a team of Colombian mercenaries attacked his residence in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.
Instead, police say the charges stem from an investigation that began after the local police service in the city of Lévis, outside Quebec City, contacted federal police.
“What is alleged … is that Mr Nicolas actually travelled to Haiti and to other Central and South American countries – we’re talking about multiple countries – in order to recruit, finance and acquire some weapons for his armed revolution,” Sgt Charles Poirier, an RCMP spokesperson, told the Canadian Press.
“He not only wanted to overthrow the government in place, but also seize power.”
Nicolas and his co-conspirators were unsuccessful in acquiring weapons, police said.
Nicolas told CBC Radio on Thursday that the charges were untrue, and claimed that they were the result of lies spread by a former lover, who contacted police in Lévis after he sent humanitarian aid, including food and clothing, to Haiti, where his half-sister lives.
“She made up a whole story that I was a terrorist,” he said, alleging that the woman told police the shipment contained illegal materials.
“She managed to convince [police] because I’m Black. If I were white, I wouldn’t be talking to you today. The police would have been more careful,” he said “The Lévis police are racists with a badge.”
Poirier said he hoped the “serious” charges against Nicolas would serve as a warning to others.
“If you are a Canadian citizen, breaking the law in a foreign country is the same as breaking the law in Canada.”
Nicolas is due to appear at the Quebec City courthouse on 1 December to face three terrorism-related charges.