Christopher Arthur Hughes, a Canadian YouTuber known for his videos under the account “Chris Must List”, has been charged with sedition in Trinidad and Tobago after posting videos featuring interviews with local gang members who expressed opposition to the government. Hughes appeared in court on Monday and was ordered to surrender his passport, with bail set at TT$100,000 (£11,709).

The investigation into Hughes began after he posted the videos to his YouTube page, which has 326,000 subscribers. The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service stated that the videos featured “individuals professing to be gang members, advocating criminal activities, and using threatening language”. Law enforcement sources revealed that a search warrant was executed at a location in west Trinidad where Hughes was staying, and several items, including cameras and a laptop, were seized.

Hughes has developed an online persona as a globe-trotting content creator, with videos allegedly showing him visiting “the most dangerous” areas in various countries. The videos featuring Trinidad, which have since been deleted from his YouTube account, appeared to show Hughes in areas considered “hot spots” due to high crime rates, interviewing people in various Trinidadian communities.

Global Affairs Canada has confirmed that they are aware of the reports of a detained Canadian and are providing consular assistance.

Prosecutors could recommend a summary trial, leaving Hughes with some options. If he accepts that route, the matter would be decided by a magistrate. However, if Hughes decides to have his case reviewed by the High Court, he could face stiffer penalties. With a summary conviction, Hughes could expect a fine of TT$3,000 or two years in prison, while a conviction in the High Court could result in a TT$25,000 fine and five years in prison.

According to the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian newspaper, Hughes has previously faced legal issues with authorities in Cuba and Somalia, having been deported from Cuba for flying a drone in Havana and from Somalia for throwing money at poor people.

The case draws attention to Trinidad and Tobago’s Sedition Act, which has been used to charge several notable people in the past, including Yasin Abu Bakr, who led a deadly 1990 attempted coup against the government. In October 2023, the Privy Council in London dismissed an appeal challenging the constitutionality of sections of the act.