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HomeCANADAAnand Nath, Suliman Raza, and Naqash Abbasi Found Guilty of First-Degree Murder...

Anand Nath, Suliman Raza, and Naqash Abbasi Found Guilty of First-Degree Murder in 2021 Mississauga Restaurant Shooting

June 21: Three men have been convicted of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder following a shooting at a Mississauga restaurant that killed one person and injured four others three years ago. Anand Nath, the shooter; Suliman Raza, the getaway driver; and Naqash Abbasi, the mastermind behind the attack, face automatic life sentences with no possibility of parole for 25 years.

The verdict, delivered by a 12-member jury at the Superior Court in Brampton after just over a day of deliberations, followed a five-week trial. The shooting, which took place on May 29, 2021, at the family-owned Chicken Land restaurant, resulted in the death of 25-year-old Naim Akl and injuries to his mother, father, brother, and a delivery driver.

During the reading of the verdict, Nath shed tears while Raza hugged him. Abbasi’s parents were present, with his mother crying upon hearing her son’s conviction. Raza smiled at the Akl family before leaving the courtroom. The defense lawyers declined to comment, with Abbasi’s lawyer, Adam Newman, expressing disappointment with the outcome.

Justice David Harris remarked that the verdict was “reasonable” and acknowledged the emotional and stressful nature of the trial, thanking the jury for their service.

Crown prosecutor Brian McGuire stated that the Akl family felt justice had been served. The trial revealed that the men had pledged allegiance to ISIS and targeted Akl to prevent him from going to the police. Akl had worked with the three men at a Mississauga Amazon fulfillment warehouse set up by Abbasi, but there was a falling out a month before the shooting.

Key evidence included testimony from Mikail Aras, who said the men confessed the murder plot to him and asked him to pledge allegiance to an ISIS leader. Aras testified that Abbasi saw Akl as a liability because he knew about their ISIS allegiance and was owed nearly $20,000 by Abbasi.

Prosecutors also presented evidence of extremist content on Raza’s phone, including ISIS propaganda videos and related searches. Akl’s blood was found in the trunk of Raza’s father’s car.

Defense lawyers argued that the evidence was insufficient and inconsistent, with Raza’s lawyer noting non-criminal searches on his client’s phone and Nath’s lawyer describing the evidence against him as circumstantial.

A sentencing hearing for the five counts of attempted murder is scheduled for June 27.

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