25 April 2013 4:09 pm | | 10

Share     Share       Share     Share  

Esseghaier Tunisia Terrorism

Chiheb Esseghaier being led off of a plane by Canadian police. Photo credit: Chris Young of the Canadian Press

Chiheb Esseghaier, the native Tunisian arrested in Montreal for allegedly conspiring to attack a passenger train, has been described by many who knew him as a diligent student whose behavior had grown erratic since moving to Canada for graduate study.

Esseghaier, 30, was apprehended by authorities Monday.

From 2001 to 2008, Essaghaier, studied at the National Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology (INSAT) in Tunis, where he received a bachelor’s in industrial biology and a master’s degree in industrial biotechnology. Faculty there described him as a respectful student and diligent worker to Canadian newspaper La Presse.

A former teacher, Mohammed Boussaid, told the newspaper that he did not believe Esseghaier had any friends at the school and had no contact with girls. Another teacher, Adnene Abdelghani, said he was shy and respectful of his teachers’ authority. La Presse reported that he received good grades and had no documented behavioral problems at INSAT.

But while living and studying in Canada, where he moved in 2008 for graduate work in biotechnology, his colleagues and neighbors perceived him much differently. The National Post interviewed a colleague who said Esseghaier had torn down posters of women, which he found offensive, and that he “was very religiously strict.”

Reports from neighbors in Canada highlight erratic behavior and a religiously devout life. La Presse reports that Esseghaier was evicted from his apartment in December after complaints from neighbors about his actions, including making loud noises late at night and an instance in which he allegedly lit a charcoal grill indoors. Authorities became increasingly concerned last spring after Esseghaier behaved erratically on a plane to Mexico.

Esseghaier was arrested Monday in Montreal, according to the Toronto Star, for plotting to destroy a passenger train by blowing up a railroad bridge.

He allegedly made contact with a member of Al Qaeda before moving from Tunisia to Canada in 2008, and met his alleged accomplice, a Palestinian with U.A.E. citizenship, at a mosque in Canada in 2009, according to the Toronto Star. Canadian officials say that the plot was assisted by elements of Al Qaeda.

“We know that this Criminal Code is not a holy book,” the Toronto Star reports him as saying yesterday in a hearing before the court. “It’s just written by set of creations and the creations they’re not perfect because only the creator is perfect.”

Members of Esseghaier’s family in Tunis were interviewed yesterday by the Montreal paper La Presse. His father asserted that his son would never commit murder, and that Islam was “a moral support” for him. According to the article, Esseghaier had been in close contact with the family, calling and emailing them regularly, and they noticed no change in his speech or behavior recently. The family believed that he was the subject of racial and religious profiling, according to the article.

“I have known him since he was born. I am convinced they went after him just because of his appearance, because he is Tunisian, because he is a Muslim and because he wears a beard. And that is not a sufficient reason in a democracy like Canada,” the Toronto Star quoted his aunt as saying.

Share     Share       Share     Share  

  From the same category


Low Turnout and Mixed Feelings for Algerians Voting in Tunisia

Update: Libyan Kidnappers Demand Militants’ Release

UGTT Union Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Tunisia Returns Stolen Ancient Artifact to Algeria


Switzerland to Return $40 Million in Ben Ali Assets to Tunisia

Q & A: Issandr El Amrani on Tunisia’s Place in North Africa

Libya Border Crossing Reopens After Protests

U.S. to Provide Tunisia with $500 Million in Loan Guarantees


Prime Minister Jomaa Talks Economy, Security During U.S. Trip

Strikes, Protests Paralyze Tunisia-Libya Border Town

Israelis Excluded from Tunisia’s Push for Tourists

U.S. State Department Lifts Tunisia Travel Warning

Comments (10)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Portrait Emerges of Tunisian Arrested in Terror Plot – Tunisia Live : Tunisia Live

  2. Publicola says:

    - Tolerance for the tolerant -

  3. Publicola says:

    Tolerance only for the tolerants!

  4. MUNSER says:


  5. Patrick Batchelder says:

    The idea that he is Tunisian has nothing to do with his actions. He needs help and counseling and, if he is indeed Muslim, many people to talk with him about Islam as a religion of peace.

  6. Margaret says:

    Send him back to Tunisia…Canada is a moderate country..we don,t want radicals here..

    • maria says:

      If he goes back to Tunisia they will just set him free. I agree Canada does not need these type of people…no where does. The problem is what to do with these people and where to send them. no one wants them. Well he may have a place in the new Tunisia cos anything that is evil is welcome there now….sadly

    • hichem says:

      we’ll gladly take him back as long your country is willing to send belhassen trabelsi back with him. that’s a fair deal. otherwise you can keep the thief and the nutter.

    • Michael Miles says:

      If it was the US government who gave this tip to Canadian government then I know for a fact that the tip itself can’t be trusted as truth.
      US track record for their lies is far too great.

      Where is the one thing that would clinch it. EVIDENCE

Leave Feedback

  Follow us

Connect on YouTube Connect on Google+ Connect to itunes Subscribe via RSS Feed

  Latest Videos

Play Video

Motocross Racers in the Forests of Bizerte, Tunisia

Bizerte, the northernmost city in Africa, hosted the fourth round of the...

Play Video

Endangered Whale Brought Ashore in Tunis Suburb

Onlookers in the popular tourist spot of Sidi Bou Said, near Tunis,...

Play Video

'Kima Enti:' Mixing Tunisian Traditions With Modern Design

"Kima Enti" is a hand-made art and design project launched by independent...

Play Video

One-Year Anniversary of Chokri Belaid's Death

On February 6, 2014, family and supporters of slain Tunisian politician Chokri...

Play Video

Klay BBJ explains his arrest

Tunisia Live's Nissaf Slama interviews rapper Klay BBJ on his music, arrest,...

Tabbed Structure - Regular
UGTT Union Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize...
Unemployed Tunisians Risk Their Lives to Build Future...
Tunisia Returns Stolen Ancient Artifact to Algeria...
Switzerland to Return $40 Million in Ben Ali...
Pollution Ravages Old Port of Tunis...
NCA Approves Judicial Body, Looks Ahead to Electoral...
Motocross Racers in the Forests of Bizerte...
Ben Ali Officials To Be Released in Revolution...
Members ‘Freeze’ NCA Participation Over Reduced Sentences for...
Low Turnout and Mixed Feelings for Algerians Voting in Tunisia...
Update: Libyan Kidnappers Demand Militants’ Release...
New Areas Around Chaambi Declared Military Zones...
Pollution Ravages Old Port of Tunis...
NCA Approves Judicial Body, Looks Ahead to Electoral Law...
Motocross Racers in the Forests of Bizerte...
Unemployed Tunisians Risk Their Lives to Build Future in Europe...
Members ‘Freeze’ NCA Participation Over Reduced Sentences for Ben Ali Officials...
Ben Ali Officials To Be Released in Revolution Killings Case...