After two years of fighting in court, the widow and children of a victim of the Quebec City mosque shooting will be granted compensation.
Khadija Thabti lost her husband Aboubaker Thabti during the shooting that killed six men in 2017.
Since, Thabti has been fighting to be recognized as a victim of a criminal offence by the IVAC (Indemnisation des victimes d’actes criminels), the Quebec government body in charge of granting aid to victims of crime.
The announcement came during a press conference in Quebec city, just two days before Thabti was scheduled to head back to court.
“I’d like to thank justice minister Sonia Lebel, it’s a relief after two years,” Thabti said in a press conference. “It’s a small relief that will help me with my children.”
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In Quebec, one of the requirements to be recognized as a victim and have access to aid is to have been hurt or been present on the scene at the time of the crime.
However, Thabti’s lawyer, Marc Bellemare, argues the widow and her two children, Mohamed, 13 and Meriem, 5, in spite of not being present, were also victims of the event.
“I’m really traumatized. Sometimes I have nightmares,” Mohamed told reporters. “What really shocked me was seeing traces of blood and bullet holes at the mosque.”
Bellemare said the family is now eligible to receive compensation for loss of salary, coverage for doctor-prescribed treatments and a lifetime grant for permanent mental disability.
“I hope the minister of justice will instruct public servants to accept these cases as soon as possible because these people need help, they don’t need delays,” Bellemare lamented.
Bellemare also called for authorities to change the current definition of victim. “They have a definition that is not correct. They say you have to be directly injured and that’s not true, you can be injured indirectly, after the fact. These people are mentally injured, they suffered a lot and need a quick settlement.”
Bellemare made a public appeal to other potential victims to contact him before January 29, when the delay to make a claim will expire.
“The Muslim community, those who were confronted to the scene of the crime, witnessed the scene and those who were shocked are all victims,” said Bellemare who added he will help for free.
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