2 men charged with hate crime against same-sex couple in northwest Calgary

Calgary police say they have charged two men with a hate crime in relation to an assault on a same-sex couple that took place last month in the northwest community of Sunnyside.

Ahmed Borhot, 23, has been charged with assault and assault with a weapon.

Alaa Borhot, 24, has been charged with assault with a weapon.

Police said the incident had been reviewed by their hate crimes co-ordinator, who determined there was enough evidence to support a hate bias motivation. 

“Hate-motivated crimes are recognizable crimes, like assault, theft, vandalism or any other crime, where the offender was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate that is based on one of nine personal characteristics of the victim,” police said in a statement.

On Aug. 3, a same-sex couple was walking near the intersection of Ninth Street and Memorial Drive N.W. when two men and two women on electric scooters approached them.

Police allege that a physical and verbal altercation occurred between the couple and the group on the scooters. It’s alleged the two men on scooters used a belt, rocks and a recycling bin as weapons. 

Police searched the area but couldn’t locate the group. The victims were treated for injuries that were non-life-threatening.

Later in the week, police said they were able to identify the suspects thanks to numerous tips from members of the public.

“The hate motivation is considered by the courts after a person is found guilty of the crime. If the judge decides during sentencing that hate was a motivation for the offence, it is an aggravating factor that can add to the convicted person’s sentence,” police said in a statement.

No further details were revealed.

After the two men were identified in photos released by police, they released a statement saying that they and their families had received threats after being publicly identified.

“Quite simply, stories have been circulated about us that are simply false,” they said in a statement. “We fully intend to defend ourselves.

“We ask that the public remember the common wisdom that every story has two sides. We will provide ours in due course.”

CBC News has reached out to the two men for additional comment.

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