A 46 year-old-man has been arrested and charged in connection with what Transit Police are calling an “unprovoked hate motivated attack” on a young woman that took place on the Canada Line Monday night.
Police said the incident took place at approximately 9:30 pm and the woman – 17 year-old Noor Fadel – wrote in a Facebook post that the incident took place after she got on the Canada Line at Waterfront, bound for Richmond-Brighouse.
The moment she sat down on the train, she said, a man “got up and started to swear at me calling me a whore and a slut telling me he will kill me and all Muslims in a mix of Arabic and some other language I wasn’t understanding.”
Fadel writes that the man was not Muslim and after he raised his hand and began saying he was going to kill her, “I wanted to film him but I was afraid he was going to hit me.”
The man was using “horrific words,” says Fadel, and he allegedly attempted to grab her head and “shove it in his crotch.”
Police said during the attack, the man also allegedly slapped her face attempted to pull her hijab off her head, before another passenger stepped in to defend her.
The suspect then left the train at Vancouver City Centre Station.
Fadel called the police and got off the train at Yaletown Station, accompanied by her protector.
When Transit Police officers met her there a short time later, she was “extremely traumatized and had trouble breathing.” Paramedics were also called in to help.
The woman told police that she had taken several pictures of the man and after a quick foot search of the area, the suspect was found in a nearby convenience store. He was arrested without incident.
Now, the suspect, Pierre Belzan, of no fixed address, has been charged with one count of Threatening to Cause Death or Bodily Harm and one count of Assault.
And while Belzan has no criminal record, police said he is “well-known” to them.
He was remanded in custody and was scheduled to appear in court today.
In a release, Transit Police said they “would like to thank and commend the gentleman who intervened in this incident and came to the aid of the woman.”
The Good Samaritan, police said, “put his own safety at risk and stopped what might have become an even more serious situation.”