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Man attacked in Sydney says he is victim of hate crime
The victim of a brutal attack in Cape Breton over the weekend says he was targeted because of his race.
The 20-year-old Saudi Arabian man, who just recently moved to Sydney, says he was viciously attacked by a group of strangers as he returned to his Alexandra Street apartment around 1 a.m. Sunday.
He spoke with CTV News after the attack, but asked not to be identified because he fears for his safety.
"They entered the car and switched off the car and took the keys," says the man. "Then they opened the door of the car and pulled me out. Then he put the knife on my throat and asked ‘where are you from?'"
He says the group repeatedly kicked him and punched him in the face, before his friends noticed the fight and came to his aid. Pieces of broken glass also became lodged in the man's eye.
"I was really frightened," he says. "I thought I was going to be killed that night."
He also says he believes the attack may have been racially motivated.
"It's the way they were asking questions to me," he says. "That means it's race…because the first question was ‘where are you from?'" They said Pakistan or something like that…maybe if I had said Saudi Arabia they would have stabbed me."
The intruders fled when someone called the police, but soon after there was another attack nearby at the Membertou First Nation, which is located roughly two kilometres away from Alexandra Street.
Police say a 23-year-old father of three was sent to hospital with non life-threatening stab wounds after he was attacked with a knife.
"A woman was outside yelling ‘help, my husband's been stabbed' and she kept saying ‘my husband was stabbed,'" says neighbour Gary Christmas.
Cape Breton Regional Police arrested four men aged 18 to 23 a short time later and investigators believe the same group of suspects were involved in both attacks, although the victims are not connected.
Julian Conrad Sylliboy, 21, is facing 13 charges, including two counts each of assault with a weapon and uttering threats, and five counts of breaching probation. He made a brief court appearance this morning and the Crown opposed his release.
Sylliboy is in custody at the Cape Breton Correctional Centre and is due back in court tomorrow for a bail hearing. The Crown has also requested that he not have contact with either of the victims.
A 19-year-old man is also facing a single assault charge in the attacks, while the other two men who were arrested have since been released.
Meanwhile, police say the attack against the Saudi Arabian man does appear to be random, but they are not calling it a hate crime.
The man is recovering from facial injuries but he says he no longer feels safe.
"This is the way I feel right now," he says. "So maybe I'm going to move from this town. I don't know where."
As for the stabbing victim, he has since returned home from the hospital.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald