4th man appears in court on charges of killing B.C. Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar | CBC News – Daily Frontline

One of four men accused of killing a Sikh leader in British Columbia last year made a first appearance in provincial court Wednesday morning, as a crowd gathered outside to protest India’s alleged involvement in Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s death.

Homicide investigators said Amandeep Singh was charged last weekend with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder — just over a week after identical charges were announced against three co-accused.

Singh appeared in court in Surrey, B.C., virtually from Ontario, where the 22-year-old was already in the custody of Peel Regional Police for unrelated firearms charges.

A judge set his next court date for May 21 — when he’ll appear alongside the other three men charged with conspiring to kill Nijjar outside a Gurdwara in Surrey last June.

‘Enemies of Canada’

Singh’s appearance was marred by technical delays.

Singh, Karan Brar, Kamalpreet Singh and Karanpreet Singh are all Indian nationals. Police say Amandeep Singh was splitting his time in Canada between Canada in Brampton, Ont., Abbotsford, B.C., and Surrey.

The four men are accused of conspiring to gun down Nijjar in the parking lot of the Sikh temple where he was president.

They are allegedly members of a hit squad that investigators believe was tasked by the government of India to carry out the murder of Nijjar, who was a key organizer of unofficial referendums for an independent Sikh state in India and was regarded by India’s government as a terrorist.

Amandeep Singh, who resided in Brampton, Ont., Surrey, B.C., and Abbotsford, B.C., has been arrested in connection with the killing of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar last year. (HIT)

Nijjar’s death has sparked tensions between Canada and India, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying credible intelligence linked the killing to India’s government, while Indian officials deny involvement.

More than two dozen people gathered outside the courtroom before Singh’s appearance, holding flags in support of an independent Sikh state and posters accusing Indian political figures of being “enemies of Canada.”

Scott Road Gurdwara general secretary Bhupinder Singh Hothi told reporters outside court that he plans to attend all the hearings in the case in order to honour Nijjar’s role as temple leader.

He said all Canadians should be paying attention.

“It’s an attack on the sovereignty of Canadians as well. It’s not just a matter of one person,” he said.

“We believe that there will be justice coming to this.”

About 16 of the protesters went into the courtroom to watch Singh’s appearance, at which he agreed to a trial in English with a Punjabi interpreter. He was also issued an order forbidding him contact with seven people, including members of Nijjar’s immediate family.

None of the charges against any of the accused have been proven in court.

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