A man who described himself as an ISIS executioner has been charged for allegedly making the story up.
Shehroze Chaudhry, 25, publicly discussed his alleged role in the terrorist group, saying he had taken part in execution-style killings.
As early as 2016, he posted on social media about his involvement with ISIS, according to CBC.
Chaudhry told CBC News he joined ISIS in 2014 as an enforcer in the Syrian city of Manbij.
He recalled witnessing violence including regular public lashings, beheadings and crucifixions.
The man also said he suffered from nightmares and would wake up in a cold sweat at least three times a week.
He gave detailed account of shooting blindfolded when speaking to the media.
But after a lengthy investigation, he was arrested on Friday and charged him with hoax-terrorist activity.
The charge “stems from numerous media interviews” that were “published in multiple media outlets, aired on podcasts and featured on a television documentary, raising public safety concerns amongst Canadians,” the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said in a statement.
Superintendent Christopher deGale, who heads the Toronto INSET, said: “Hoaxes can generate fear within our communities and create the illusion there is a potential threat to Canadians, while we have determined otherwise.
“As a result, the RCMP takes these allegations very seriously, particularly when individuals, by their actions, cause the police to enter into investigations in which human and financial resources are invested and diverted from other ongoing priorities.”
Canada’s terrorism hoax law is sometimes used to prosecute those who make false bomb threats, Global News reports.
The charge is based on the premise that even bogus claims of terrorism spread fear and consume police resources.
University of Calgary law professor Michael Nesbitt said the charge – which carries a maximum sentence of five years – had never been applied against someone who allegedly made up their involvement in a terrorist group.
Chaudhry, who used the name Abu Huzayfah, also spoke on the New York Times podcast Caliphate.
Recalling the alleged killing of a drug dealer, he said: “The blood was just – it was warm, and it sprayed everywhere.
“And the guy cried — was crying and screaming.
“It’s hard. I had to stab him multiple times. And then we put him up on a cross. And I had to leave the dagger in his heart.”
His story, however, was not always consistent because on one instance he wrote on Instagram that he had been in ISIS “for a bit less than a year,” but told Global News he was in Syria less than six months.
Also, he said he joined ISIS in January 2014, but his academic transcript showed he was a student at the University of Lahore’s Department of Environmental Science in Pakistan in 2014.
He even told Global News he had never killed anyone – which contradicted what he said on the podcast.
Amarnath Amarasingam, a Queen’s University professor who has been speaking with Chaudhry since 2017, said he was surprised by the RCMP allegations.
“While there were always questions about when he went to Syria, nothing in my interactions with him suggested he made the whole thing up,” he said.
“It will be a very hard case to make though. They have to prove that others thought terrorist activity would occur and fear death/harm, that he intended to create that fear, and that he knows the info is false.”
Chaudhry will appear in a Brampton, Ontario, court on the morning of November 16.