MONTREAL — Azim Ibragimov, left. who pleaded guilty to firebombing two Jewish community institutions in 2006 and 2007, should receive a four-year prison term, the Crown contends.
Ibragimov’s targeting of an Outremont chassidic school and the Snowdon YM-YWHA were not simply vandalism, but hate crimes intended to “terrorize” the Jewish community, and his punishment should send a message that these type of crimes are not tolerated,” prosecutor Mario Dufresne said at Ibragimov’s sentencing hearing last week.
“The goal was not to just damage property but to cause fear and intimidate … the Jewish community,” Dufresne said.
Ibragimov, 24, pleaded guilty to charges related to throwing a Molotov cocktail at the Skver Toldos Yakov Yosef School in September 2006 and of setting off a small explosive device outside the Y in April 2007, as well as setting fire to a parked car in the east end, apparently not connected to the Jewish community, and with uttering threats to damage property.
He and co-accused Omar Bulphred have been detained since their arrest on April 12, 2007, when nine counts were laid against them.
Ibragimov pleaded guilty to reduced charges last April.
His time in custody will be counted as double in any jail sentence handed down, or three years as of this month.
Ibragimov’s lawyer, Gaetan Bourassa, asked for a suspended sentence with 240 hours of community service and three years’ probation. He said his client is not anti-Semitic, noting that his Ukranian-born former girlfriend, who is part Jewish, testified to that effect at the first day of sentencing arguments held in September. He said Ibragimov is a Muslim, but not a practising one.
Bourassa argued that his client is immature and was led on by Bulphred, who he said planned the attacks.
Bulphred, 22, has pleaded not guilty and is due back in court Nov. 12 to set a date for his trial.
Ibragimov read a statement of apology and asked for a second chance to prove he can change.
The Quebec Court judge Gilles Cadieux will render his sentence on Nov. 17.
At the first day of sentencing arguments last month, lead police investigator Sylvie Beauregard testified that Ibragimov wrote a letter after the school firebombing, which read in part: “In the name of Islamic jihad, we claim responsibility for the attack on the Jewish school, and other attacks are being planned against the Zionists. Free our brothers imprisoned in Toronto.”