Marrisa Shen case: Court appearance prompts protest over immigration system
Demonstrators gathered outside Vancouver's court house Tuesday as Ibrahim Ali appeared in court at a hearing to discuss disclosure documents.
Protesters supporting Marrisa Shen, the 13-year-old Ali is accused of killing, have been outside the court for all of Ali's appearances.
Shen was last seen alive on July 18, 2017 at a Burnaby Tim Hortons. Five hours later, her body was found in Burnaby's Central Park.
"We're not here for any reason other than to remember and honour a little girl: Marrisa Shen," one demonstrator told CTV News.
But the crowds have turned Shen's death into a larger debate about Canada's immigration system.
Holding signs such as "Hold Trudeau Accountable" and "We Want Justice, Law and Order," some demonstrators blamed Canada's immigration policies for Shen's death.
Ali is a Syrian refugee who came to Canada with his family in 2017, four months before Shen's murder.
He has no previous criminal record in Canada and there had been no indication from officials that his history in Syria had raised any red flags.
The local Syrian community organized a vigil in September to support the Shen family and took the opportunity to denounce the killing.
But still, demonstrators focus on Ali's status as a Syrian refugee.
"What is unfortunate is the person who is accused of taking Marrisa away is something that should never have been allowed in the country to begin with," one demonstrator said.
"This is an injustice on the part of the government," another told CTV.
Ali is scheduled to return to court on March 5.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Allison Hurst