Toronto Man Found Guilty in Canada’s Landmark Case Under Anti-Terrorism Law

A Toronto man has been found guilty of taking part in the activities of a terrorist group known as the “Toronto 18”. The man, the first case for Canada’s antiterrorism laws, was charged in 2006 and cannot be named because he was a juvenile at that time. Arrested after a series of police raids in June 2006, the police and prosecutors claim that the suspects had planned to bomb government buildings and assassinate Prime Minister Harper.

Referring to the young man as an “eager acolyte,” Justice John Sproat of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice said in his reading of his 94-page judgment, “I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that a terrorist group existed,” adding that the group’s actions “were motivated by an interpretation of Islam which required an attack upon the near enemy, including the Canadian military and Parliament.” The key informant to the police, Mubain Shaikh, said outside the courthouse that he did not agree with the ruling because he did not believe the defendant was aware of the group’s violent plans.

Charges against seven of the 18 suspects have been dropped. Prosecutors and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police declined comment as the pending case of the remaining suspects accused are part of the same group. The young man faces up to 10 years in prison, but his lawyers suggest a stiff sentence is unlikely. Some critics have called into question civil liberties for those charged under this new antiterrorism legislation.

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The Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail

International Herald Tribune

Overview of the case and the defendant available here.

The National Post

The Toronto Star

Crackdown on ‘suicide websites’

The law on “suicide websites” is to be rewritten to ensure people know they are illegal, the government has said. It follows concerns people searching for information on suicide are more likely to find sites encouraging the act than offering support. It is illegal under the 1961 Suicide Act to promote suicide, but no website operator has been prosecuted. The law will be amended to make clear it applies online and to help service providers police the sites they host. Justice Minister Maria Eagle said there was no “magic solution” to protecting vulnerable people online. In April, the British Medical Journal reported on a study in which researchers used four search engines to look for suicide-related sites. The three most frequently occurring sites were all pro-suicide, prompting researchers to call for anti-suicide web pages to be prioritised. An outright ban on suicide sites would have been unworkable, according to the Samaritans.

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Minister proposes a registry for imams and mosques

Italian European Affairs Minister Andrea Ronchi has proposed a registry for imams in Italy, in order to control the building of mosques, and a referendum to urge for more integration of places of worship according to the social and urban contexts where they are based. Ronchi made the proposals suggesting that the initiatives would improve religious dialogue. He also stated that he would like to restart dialogue between Muslims and institutions including the Islamic Council or Consulta per l’Islam. However, Ronchi said that he did not want the Union of Islamic Communities of Italy to take part in the initiative, even though it is the country’s largest Muslim group – calling them “the real exponents of non-dialogue” concerning the group’s denial of the existence of Israel.

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AKI

Reuters

Italian lawyers seek Condoleezza Rice testimony

The lawyers for a former Italian chief of intelligence want to call US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a witness in the trial of 26 Americans charged in the kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric. Defense lawyer Nicola Madia, who said that Rice’s testimony is significant, considering that she was in charge of the CIA’s rendition program, filed the request. Italian judge Oscar Magi is expected to make a decision on the request in October.

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International Herald Tribune

Associated Press

United Press International

Belgium hands over suspected terrorist to Spain

Belgian authorities have handed over a leading member of an al-Qaeda linked group to Spain. Spanish police released a statement saying that the arrestee, Algerian national Khaled Abidi, is believed to be a member of the militant Ansar al-Islam group – accused of recruiting Moroccans and Algerians in Spain to fight for al-Qaeda in Iraq.

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U.K. Prosecutors to Retry 7 Men for Airline Bomb Plot (Update2)

U.K. prosecutors will retry seven British Muslims who they claim conspired to blow up several passenger planes bound for North America from London after a jury days ago failed to reach a verdict.

The men will be retried for conspiring to kill passengers by detonating homemade liquid-based bombs on trans-Atlantic flights, Ken Macdonald, the U.K.’s head prosecutor said today in an e- mailed statement. The arrests in 2006 caused airport chaos with about 2,400 flights canceled in London alone. The investigation led to airport restrictions on more than small amounts of fluids in hand luggage that remain in effect around the world. The London jury on Sept. 8, after a five-month trial, was unable to decide whether the men were guilty of plotting to blow up aircraft. The panel convicted Abdulla Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar and Tanvir Hussain on charges of conspiracy to murder not specifically related to the plot to bomb jets bound for the U.S. and Canada. The three men convicted, along with Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Waheed Khan, Waheed Zaman and Umar Islam, will again face charges of trying to bomb flights. Savant, Khan, Zaman and Islam will also be retried on the same general conspiracy to the murder charges of which Ali, Sarwar and Hussain were found guilty. The panel cleared an eighth defendant in the case of all charges. Defense lawyers at Tuckers and Arani & Co, who have been acting on the case, didn’t return messages seeking comment. James Lumley reports.

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Bloomberg

The Star

Muslim charities will undergo review process to win back donors

Muslim charities in the United State are turning to the Better Business Bureau to win back donors, and in an effort to gain back their confidence in their fundraising activities. Many such charities were hit hard after September 11th, 2001, where funds were seized and questions by the US government. Under this initiative, seven Muslim charities have already volunteered to commit to a review process designed by the BBB to validate their financial soundness and transparency. The effort is lead by Muslim Advocates, an advocacy group based in San Francisco.

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Denmark: Terror trial begins

The trial of two men accused of planning an attack has begin in Copenhagen. Two men of Pakistani and Afghani background are alleged to have made a bomb out of explosives that were used in the London 2005 bombings. Both men have pleaded not guilty, but have admitted to making triacetone triperoxide (TATP) saying that it was for using in fireworks. The prosecutor in the case presented video evidence from the Danish Intelligence Service, which secretly filmed the Pakistani man mixing chemicals and singing about martyrdom. Neither men have been named due to a court order.

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Muslim Convert Now on Trial in “Toronto 18“ Case

A young Hindu man, now 20, who converted to Islam from Hinduism, has been deemed ignorant of Islam in his court trial. His lawyer claims that the alleged nefarious plot to « cripple Canada » was nothing more than an unrealistic “delusion.”

His conversion to Islam has been well-charted. Muhammad Robert Heft, who was approached by the young man at Paradise For Ever, a non-profit centre he runs in Toronto for recent Muslim converts told the Globe and Mail, « He’s a kid who doesn’t know very much, if at all, about the religion. » The accused’s father told the court, « By force they were taking him. At that time itself I would’ve alerted police and he would’ve been saved. » Mr. Heft claims that the young man (who cannot be named because he was a minor at the time of the incident) came to Paradise For Ever seeking refuge in the organization’s emergency shelter and claiming he was abused at home.

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The Globe and Mail

The National Post

9 Suspects on Trial for Terror Plots in Paris

Safe Bourada, an Algerian with a part terrorism conviction, and eight suspected accomplices face charges for plotting attacks in Paris will stand trial in October. They are facing charges of financing terrorism and links to a « terrorist enterprise ». Bourada has previously served eight years in prison for his role as recruiter in a logistics group which helped stage bombings in the Paris Metro and elsewhere in 1995.

Investigators suspect that while he was in prison, Bourada recruited followers who became members of a France-based group known as « Ansar al-Fath » or Partisans of Victory.

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