Opinion

Reyat’s risk of violence highly troubling

Duncan, and by extension the Cowichan Valley, is certainly not proud of the fact that infamous criminal Inderjit Singh Reyat once called it home.

He even perpetrated elements of his crimes here. For those who are unfamiliar with the name, Reyat is the only person ever convicted in connection to the 1985 bombing of Air India flight 182, killing its passengers, the majority of whom (268) were Canadian.

He also aided in building a bomb that was supposed to go off simultaneously with the one on Air India, but it went off prematurely at an airport in Japan instead, killing two workers. That puts his body count at 331.

He was convicted of manslaughter in both the Japan and Air India bombings. He was supposed to testify as a key witness against accused co-conspirators, but wound up with a perjury conviction. This man, through his deliberate perjury and continued silence, ensured that nobody else has ever paid the price for the worst act of terrorism Canada has ever suffered.

He most certainly knows who the masterminds behind the bombings are and through both his action and inaction, much like the bombings themselves, Reyat has made certain that true justice has never been served for these despicable acts.

Fast forward to today.

Reyat was released from prison to a halfway house last year. His residence there was one of the conditions of his parole. The parole board has now seen fit to lift that condition due to good behaviour.

And sure, we can believe their assessment that he’s not likely to kill another random person on the street just because.

But we find it infinitely disturbing that they also found that if there was a risk to his extremist Sikh cause — the motive for his crimes in the first place — his “risk for future based group violence is high”.

In other words, if he was in the same situation in the future, he’s likely to do it all over again.

And yet they’ve lifted his residency condition? What?

The psychological assessments used by the parole board would seem to indicate that Reyat hasn’t changed his beliefs at all — meaning he’s ripe to be recruited into a future conspiracy once his parole and its restrictions are finished. He’s already proven himself deadly dangerous in such a situation.

Reyat has spent approximately 30 years behind bars, but given his crimes, he’s someone who should have spent the rest of his life in prison.

The world would be a safer place if he was still there.

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