Muslim immigrant assaults wife in front of police, explains that she is 'his property'

From the Winnipeg Sun

A Winnipeg man who allegedly assaulted his wife in front of police and told an officer he could do what he wants with "his property" is now fighting a bail order banning him from having any contact with the woman.

"Even if her wish was to have contact with (the accused), the Crown would be strongly opposed to any variation of the bail," Crown attorney Vuk Mitrovic told court Wednesday.

In the presence of police, the accused "was undeterred in committing an assault on his wife," Mitrovic said. "The attitude he demonstrated ... should cause the court grave concern about the safety and protection of the public."

The accused, who is not being identified to protect the identity of the alleged victim, was arrested June 24 after police responded to a 911 call from his family's Lorne Avenue apartment.

The man has filed a motion to remove a bail condition prohibiting him from living with his wife and nine children pending resolution of his charges.

"I have been away from my home and my family (for over a month)," the man told court through an interpreter. "This is a problem according to my faith to be away from my family."

Court was told the family fled their native Iraq for Syria before arriving in Winnipeg last February. The family suffered persecution from terrorist groups including al-Qaida. While in Syria, one of the man's children was kidnapped and held for ransom.

"The family is very strong in the Islamic religion and they have very strong cultural beliefs," said defence lawyer Lincoln Atten. "The family is suffering on a daily basis. At one point, (the accused) was sleeping in a park near the home just to be close to his family."

Police were called to the man's home after a report of a 911 hang-up call, Mitrovic told court. The man's wife, who only speaks Arabic, indicated through hand gestures that he had hit her in the eye.

Police were searching the man's clothing when his wife kissed one of the officers on the hand, Mitrovic said. The accused then "grabbed her by the throat and violently shoved her."

Police arrested the man and took him into custody. In an interview with an Arabic-speaking police officer, the man said "he wanted to be locked up in a mental hospital and the key thrown away as he didn't know what he would do to his wife," Mitrovic told court.

"He also said he doesn't agree with Canadian laws and that his wife is his property and he can do what he wants with her," Mitrovic said.

Following the accused's arrest, his wife and children were evicted from their apartment and forced to find other accommodations.

"The situation is difficult," Mitrovic said. "She has few supports, she doesn't have English skills at all, she has no connection to her community and has nine children."

Judge Tim Killeen adjourned deciding the motion until Aug. 21.


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