17 years in prison for man linked to the Toronto 18 terrorism group

An Atlanta man with ties to members of the so-called Toronto 18 terror cell has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for conspiring to support terrorists by videotaping US landmarks.

Twenty-three-year-old Ehsanul Islam Sadequee could have received as many as 60 years in prison at Monday’s hearing.

Sadequee, a US citizen, was convicted of four terror-related charges in August for sending the tapes of landmarks in Washington to terror suspects overseas in hopes of boosting his reputation.

His friend Syed Haris Ahmed, also a US citizen, faces 15 years in prison at a sentencing hearing later Monday. Ahmed, 24, was convicted in June of conspiring to support terrorist groups. The court heard that the co-conspirators developed relationships over the Internet with other supporters of violent jihad in the US, Canada, Britain, Pakistan, Bosnia and beyond.

In March 2005, the Americans travelled to Toronto to meet members of the Toronto 18, an alleged homegrown terror cell that was broken up by Canadian authorities in June 2006 when 14 men and four youths from the GTA were arrested. Since the mass arrests, seven of those charged from the Toronto group have had their charges stayed, five have been convicted and six are awaiting trial.

An Atlanta court was told that during the week-long trip to Canada, the American men met several times, including once in an unidentified Toronto mosque, with two Toronto 18 members, whose trial is expected to start in the spring.

Assistant US Attorney Robert McBurney told a Georgia court that online chatter revealed one of the Toronto men had spoken with Ahmed and Sadequee about going to Pakistan.