The Toronto 18: Where are they now?
Posted: October 01, 2009, 8:35 AM by Mary Vallis
Crown prosecutors announced this week they would be appealing the 14-year sentence of Saad Khalid, the latest of the "Toronto 18" who allegedly planned to blow up buildings in Toronto. So where are all those suspects now? Herein, a roundup, compiled by the Post's Scott Maniquet:
- Zakaria Amara, 23, the group's ringleader, pleaded guilty on Oct. 8. He has been described by a police informant as being a "time bomb waiting to go off" and having a "total indifference to innocent life." His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 14, 2010.
- Saad Gaya, 21, a McMaster University student, pleaded guilty on Sep. 28. Gaya had been selected by the group’s ringleaders to drive one of the bomb-laden trucks to its target. Gaya will be sentenced Jan. 6, 2010.
- 26-year-old Ali Mohamed Dirie, a Somali-Canadian, is to be sentenced on Friday after pleading guilty to smuggling guns for the terrorist group. While in prison, Dirie "took an active role in recruiting other inmates to adopt extreme jihadi beliefs," the Crown prosecutor said during his trial.
- Saudi-born Saad Khalid, 23, was the first of the group to plead guilty. He was sentenced to 14 years but could be released on parole in just over two years because of seven years credit given for time served. Khalid bought electrical components and recruited another person into the group. Crown prosecutors say they will appeal his sentence.
- Nishanthan Yogakrishnan, who was 18 at the time of his arrest, is a Sri Lankan convert to Islam. He was convicted last September and sentenced to 30 months, but credited for time served and released on parole. Yogakrishnan was first person found guilty under anti-terrorism legislation passed by Parliament in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
- (MS added) Amin Durrani plead guilty in Jan. 2010 and received credit for his pre-custody incarceration. He walked out of jail the next day, a free man.
The following have signed peace bonds in which they agreed to undergo rehabilitation and stay out of trouble, and in exchange the crown agreed not to proceed with their prosecution at this time.
- A father in his mid-40s, described as a spiritual leader to some of the accused.
- A recent university graduate, described by a lawyer as a model citizen
- A young university student
- A man originally charged with importing firearms for the group
- Three young offenders released in February 2007
- A man accused of having travelled to Pakistan to attend a terrorist camp
- A successful computer expert thought to be in the group's inner circle
- A young ringleader
- A convert to Islam with some basic military training.
Worthy to note also is that (following the youth trial, which secured 1 conviction) an Abuse of Process motion hearing was held in March 2009 to determine if any entrapment occurred.
"There has not been any entrapment and there has not been any abuse of process," Sproat told the court. "It's clear the application must be dismissed."
In his written ruling Sproat pointed out that the winter camp was already planned before the alleged ringleader made contact with Shaikh.
"The camp would have been much the same had Shaikh not attended," wrote Sproat. "The information and indoctrination presented to (the accused) was not influenced or affected by any state action."
"It was (the alleged ringleader) and not Shaikh that counselled (the youth) that it was permissible and even laudable to steal from non-believers," wrote Sproat.
AGENT #2 entrapment accusations:
Entrapment hearings commenced shortly after AbdelHaleem's defense counsel opted not to call rebuttal witnesses to the Crown allegations. For a second time, the idea of entrapment was thoroughly dismissed by the presiding judge.
MS Edited on Feb. 19, 2010.