*** I DO agree that Mr. Amara is very remorseful but that's only because he got caught. He not only dragged the process through the courts unneccessarily but deceived the public while doing so - trying to quote Plato and the like to show how smart he was. He lied to everyone for YEARS - put his family and community through traumatic events. It was only when he (and his lawyer) realized they would be hammered at trial did they give it up.
What I also find particularly interesting is how quickly his "deradicalization" came about while in general population. My question is: was isolation not enough for you to take the time and do the same? WHY the issue of pleading guilty being resisted?
I DO agree that he was young at the time and that young kids do & say stupid things but Mr. Amara took steps that showed dedication and resolve in bringing the kind of death and destruction I do not even WANT to imagine but I HAVE to imagine this is what he wanted. WHY could he not have ceased and desisted knowing full well that CSIS was on him, that the RCMP was on him - WHY did he have to keep going?
THESE are questions that should be asked of HIM - directly not through paperwork and cleverly worded motions. I want to look into his eyes and ask him myself.
IF anything, there is a comprehensive deradicalization program that should be court-ordered and based on reliable and scientific evidence that works using the best resources available. Let us take Zakaria up on his offer to spend the rest of his life (trying to) make it right and subject him to long-term study - I'll sign the fatwa saying we can study his brain after he's passed on.
These oaths taken will be monitored both in this life by government authorities and in the Next Life by The Divine Authority Himself.
Oh yeah, almost forgot: Mr. Amara is lucky he is not in a Muslim country - he would have been executed a long time ago. MS ***
The ringleader of the Toronto 18 should not have received the maximum sentence because he was young when he plotted to cause mass carnage by detonating truck bombs and is now sorry, Ontario's top court is being told.
Zakaria Amara, 25, pleaded guilty to knowingly participating in a terrorist group and intending to cause an explosion for the benefit of a terrorist group and was handed the maximum sentence -- imprisoned until he dies unless he's granted parole -- under Canada's anti-terror laws.
He can apply for parole in 2016.
The Court of Appeal for Ontario is set to hear an appeal Tuesday from Amara. In documents filed with the court in advance of the hearing his lawyer argues Amara should have been sentenced to between 18 and 20 years, instead of an indeterminate life sentence.
"The judge allowed the seriousness of the crime to overwhelm the sentencing analysis, unfairly discounting the significant mitigating factors that were present," lawyer James Lockyer writes.
The judge did not give enough weight to many factors in Amara's favour, including that he pleaded guilty, was young -- 20 at the time of his arrest, had no criminal record and was remorseful, Lockyer writes.
At his sentencing Amara read an open letter to Canadians expressing his remorse.
"I have no excuses or explanations," Amara said. "I deserve nothing less than your complete and absolute contempt."
He told the judge that no matter how long it takes he will "produce actions that will hopefully outweigh the actions that I once took towards hurting others," he said.
"Give me a chance that one day I will be able to pay the moral debt I still owe."
The judge accepted that Amara appeared to be remorseful, but didn't give it any weight, Lockyer writes.
"Indeed, this was perhaps the most significant of the mitigating factors, for it showed a clear repudiation of the extremist philosophy which underlay the appellant's criminal enterprise, and should have weighed heavily in the balance in favour of the appellant," Lockyer writes.
But the Crown notes in its submissions that Amara clung to his extremist ideals for three years in jail and that his renouncing those beliefs is relatively recent.
"Put bluntly, the appellant was willing, able and eager to plot the cruelest sort of atrocity against other people, without qualm," the Crown writes.
"Common sense tells us that this is neither a normal condition, nor one from which a quick and easy recovery seems likely."
Amara was arrested along with 17 others in the summer of 2006 and the group came to be known as the Toronto 18. Eleven of them were ultimately convicted.
Amara sought to impose his political and religious will on all Canadians through carnage and took steps to maximize the harm his bombs would inflict, and his sentence is an appropriate one, the Crown writes.
"Everything about this offence -- the intention, the motivation, the preparation and the potential consequences -- cried out for keeping the appellant under permanent penal supervision," the Crown writes.
"Imposing that sentence despite the presence of certain mitigating factors is not an error, but rather a recognition that the weight of the appellant's criminal acts was just too great to allow for anything less."
The Appeal Court is also set to hear an appeal Tuesday concerning Saad Gaya, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but with time served he could be eligible for parole next summer.
The Crown is appealing that sentence, asking the Appeal Court to add five or six years to the sentence and make his period parole ineligibility half the sentence or 10 years, whichever is less.