A Lévis, Que., man is facing terrorism charges after RCMP say he allegedly planned a terrorist act to overthrow the Haitian government of Jovenel Moïse.
Gérald Nicolas, 51, took “concrete actions,” including travelling to Haiti to co-ordinate a group of individuals whose intention was to take part in a coup against the established authority, the RCMP said in a news release Thursday.
Nicolas faces three charges including leaving Canada to facilitate a terrorist activity, facilitating a terrorist activity and providing property for terrorist purposes.
RCMP say the charges stem from an Integrated National Security Enforcement Team investigation which began after an exchange of information from the local police service in Lévis, on Quebec City’s south shore.
The investigation, which began in July 2021, revealed Nicolas allegedly planned to stage an armed revolution in Haiti and ultimately seize power.
Nicolas allegedly recruited people for armed revolution, say police
RCMP Sgt. Charles Poirier said investigators believed Nicolas started hatching his plan as early as January 2020.
“He actually managed to travel to Haiti and to other parts of Central America and South America. He went to several countries there to recruit people to get some financing and also to acquire weapons, which he was unsuccessful in doing,” Poirier told CBC News.
Poirier says this investigation is unrelated to the July 2021 assassination of Jovenel Moïse.
Nicolas is expected to appear in court in Quebec City on Dec. 1.
Accused denies all charges
Nicolas, in a conversation with Radio-Canada, denied the charges, saying he was set up by a woman he met online on the Seeking Arrangement dating website.
He acknowledged he sent money and travelled to Haiti, but claims it was all for “people in need.” He says the reason he was accused has to do with his ethnicity as a Haitian man.
“If I was white I would not be speaking with you today,” said Nicolas. “The only thing I did is go to Haiti and educate Haitians so they can take their future [in their hands].”