VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – They were chanting “Where’s Trudeau” at a huge protest outside Vancouver Provincial Court Friday as the man accused of killing 13-year-old Marrisa Shen last summer in Burnaby made his first appearance before a judge.
Ibrahim Ali, a 28-year-old Syrian refugee who has been in Canada for less than a year and a half, is accused of her murder. He is due to return to court October 12.
Ali’s lawyer Danny Markovitz told reporters that he needed more time to review the case before making too many comments.
“At this stage I can’t offer any comments except to say: we all feel horrible for the child,” he said. He added that Ali’s family is “puzzled and horrified” by the allegations against their son.
Marrisa Shen’s body was found in Central Park in July, 2017. The case drew immense interest in the community, as the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team worked for over a year to make an arrest. Ali was arrested in Burnaby on Sept. 7, 2018.
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Outside the court house on Main Street this morning, members of the Syrian community set up a vigil, in support of Shen’s family. Organizer Mohammed Alsaleh was worried there would be a backlash against community when news broke of Ali’s arrest.
“The Syrian community in Canada has issued a statement to stand with the family of Marrisa Shen and also condemn this horrible crime. Also, to offer a silent vigil in her memory so we, as a society, show our truth and what we stand for,” he told CityNews Vancouver.
Meanwhile, another group also stood outside the courthouse, chanting “No bail, no more victims.”
Some people are questioning Ottawa’s immigration laws as those from the local Syrian community lit candles and are holding a vigil to show their support for Shen’s family.
Ali’s court appearance was slated for 9:30 a.m., but the appearance were delayed until an interpreter could be found.
Related video: People asked if Shen’s murder has changed how they use Central Park
Investigators believe Shen was killed in a random attack.
The massive investigation that lasted over a year involved over 600 interviews and 2,000 persons of interest. More than 1,000 hours of video footage was reviewed.
– With files from Martin MacMahon