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Suspect charged after swastikas graffitied on synagogue doors in Canada



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This story was first published by The Dark Wire Investigation Foundation.

A man has been arrested after a synagogue in Montreal, Canada was vandalized with swastikas on Wednesday, according to reports. Adam Riga, 28, was arrested within minutes of his arrival, the Synagogue said.

Riga appeared in a Montreal court Friday where he’s charged with possessing incendiary and explosive materials with the intention of committing a criminal act and threatening to set fire to a synagogue, according to The Montreal Gazette.

According to Rabbi Scheier of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, the suspect was holding a can of gasoline, a lighter and a can of black spraypaint when he approached the building. Further, he said the suspect attempted to enter the building, but was unsuccessful because of the security measures already in place.

“As the optimist says, it could have been much worse,” Rabbi Scheier wrote in an opinion piece for the Montreal Gazette Thursday. “The attack took place in daylight hours at a synagogue closed due to COVID-19; our security team responded efficiently and effectively — for all of that, we are grateful. It certainly could have been worse.”

The Rabbi added, “Even with that gratitude, it still stings. As I first observed the swastikas on our house of prayer, community, memories, and dreams, I felt profound sadness. Tragically, symbols of hatred are neither shocking nor unexpected, but there is an acute pain when they land at one’s own front door.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the act as “despicable,” in a Wednesday tweet.

“I condemn this vile act in the strongest terms possible and stand united with Congregation @ShaarHashomayim, Rabbi @AdamScheier, and Jewish Canadians across the country. We must always denounce antisemitic hate, no matter when or where it arises,” the PM wrote.

In 2019, Canada saw an 8% increase in antisemitic incidents from the previous year, according to an audit conducted by B’nai Brith Canada. Moreover, more than 6 antisemitic incidents occurred each day of that year totaling 2,205 incidents reported, the audit shows.

And Rabbi Scheier concluded in his op-ed that there’s still so much more that can be done in the fight against antisemitism.

“We can do so much better in addressing the hateful speech and ideas that lead to destructive behaviour, he wrote. “In the next few days, we will likely learn of the man’s motives and how he arrived at the idea to attack our spiritual home. In the meantime, we embrace all of the goodness that surrounds us, and move forward with the sincere and optimistic prayer that love will prevail.”

Follow Jennie Taer on Twitter @JennieSTaer

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REPORT: China uses psychiatric institutions to suppress dissent



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China has a vast network of psychiatric institutions that it uses to suppress dissent, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. The report compiled data found on 99 victims involved in 144 instances on involuntary hospitalizations in 109 institutions from 2015 through 2021. Of the 99 victims in the report, 80 were petitioners [i.e., those who file complaints against officials] and 14 were activists.

But this is hardly a new phenomenon. “China’s regime has been torturing, maiming, and killing dissidents and others in psychiatric facilities for seven decades,” said Gordon G. Chang, author of The Coming Collapse of China and The Great U.S.-China Tech War. “The only way to end the horrific abuse is to end the rule of the Communist Party.”

The report detailed especially harsh treatments, which include: forced medication (in 77 percent of cases), physical restraints on the bed (60 percent), beatings by staff or other patients (25 percent) and electroshock therapy (14 percent). Otherwise normally healthy people were given anti-psychotic and psychotropic medications, causing severe side effects like memory loss, insomnia and tremors. Electroshock therapy was often administered to the victims as they were fully conscious, rather than under anesthesia in small doses as would be clinically appropriate for certain patients.  According to the report, “[Electroshock therapy] without anesthesia is not only unimaginably painful and frightening for the patient but carries serious side effects, including the risk of bone fractures, joint dislocation, muscle tears, disruption of the heart beat and lung damage.”

Family and friends are often used as weapons against the victims. They were not permitted to call or visit the victims in 76 percent of cases, which essentially makes these cases “enforced disappearances.” 11 percent of cases were committed with the assistance of family (either voluntarily or coerced by authorities). Family and friends who petition for the victim’s release are often faced with persecution, and involuntarily commitment themselves.

The peak of psychiatric detentions occurred from 2015 through 2016, which was around the same time as China’s “709 Crackdown” where the government persecuted hundreds of human rights lawyers.

Some of the detentions are rather draconian. As a petitioner who called for local authorities to investigate a robbery in his house, Zeng Jiping was detained for almost two years. For “live tweeting herself splashing paint over a portrait of Xi Jinping,” Dong Yaoqiong received 1 year, 4 months detention. Twenty-nine out of the 99 victims in the report were hospitalized more than once. In two-thirds of cases where data was known, the authorities did not perform a psychiatric evaluation, in direct violation of China’s Mental Health Law.

The report also gives the example of Andy Li, a member of the “Hong Kong 12” pro-democracy protestors, as falling victim to involuntary detention in Hong Kong’ Siu Lam Psychiatric Center in 2021. The report noted that, as Li’s family didn’t know about his detention, “Li’s cases appears to be a worrying sign that the political abuse of psychiatry practiced on the mainland is now being exported into Hong Kong…”

Those who are finally released from their involuntary committals face lasting physical and phycological pain, and stigma within their communities. People seeking damages for their treatment are often faced with doctors and attorneys who do not want to assist them for fear of retaliation from the government.


According to the report, China is using “peace and health asylums” and other healthcare institutions to “punish and remove activists and petitioners from society without the trouble of going through a trial.” While the report details various Chinese laws that are supposed to protect citizens from such involuntary hospitalizations, in reality Chinese authorities do not abide by these laws and the citizens are not protected. The policy of involuntary hospitalizations show the extent to which the Chinese Communist Party will go to suppress dissent.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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