Canadian prosecutors have indicated they will appeal a 12-year prison sentence handed down to Saad Gaya, one of the “Toronto 18” group accused of planning al Qaeda-style bombings of Toronto landmarks in 2006. The Crown had sought a harsher sentence for Gaya, who pleaded guilty in September to plotting an explosion likely to cause death, the most serious of the charges against the “Toronto 18” group of extremists.
Police say Gaya and the other alleged plotters had planned to bomb the Toronto Stock Exchange, the CN Tower and other downtown targets in Canada’s largest city. Gaya’s sentence came on the same day that the alleged ringleader of the group, Zakaria Amara, was given a life sentence, the stiffest yet imposed under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The dramatic arrests of Saad Khalid and Saad Gaya, members of the “Toronto 18” terrorist group that was planning to detonate truck bombs in downtown Toronto in 2006, was captured on a video released by the court. The video is among dozens of Crown exhibits that form the case against Zakaria Amara, who admitted on October 8 he was the leader of the bomb plot. An Ontario judge approved their release, allowing Canadians to view them for the first time.
The videos show the terrorists testing an electronic detonator and meeting in the dark. Also released was a video of a test explosion conducted by the RCMP, which built and detonated a bomb using the same formula as the terrorists. The result is a huge blast that flipped a metal shipping container.
Amara, 24, pleaded to two counts of terrorism and is to be sentenced in January. Khalid, Gaya and Ali Dirie have also pleaded guilty and another man, Nishanthan Yogakrishnan, was convicted. Another six are awaiting trial.