High court to hear appeal of Canada's first convicted terrorist

30th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday agreed to hear an appeal of the first Canadian found guilty under Ottawa's anti-terror law.

Momin Khawaja, a 29-year-old Canadian of Pakistani origin, was sentenced to 10-and-a-half years in prison in 2009 for participating in a foiled plot to attack several sites in the United Kingdom.

The plot included attacks on a nightclub, a shopping center and electrical and gas facilities.

The software developer's lawyer is challenging the constitutionality of the definition of "terrorist activity" in the act.

The lawyer also says Khawaja's sentence was too harsh because the judge had indicated in his ruling that authorities were unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Khawaja was aware of the specific details of the plot planned by a British terror group.

During the trial, the defense had argued that Khawaja wanted to participate in jihad (holy war) in Afghanistan but had never intended to collaborate in terror attacks in Britain.

Five of Khawaja's suspected accomplices were found guilty and sentenced to long prison terms in April 2007 in Britain.

Khawaja was convicted of building a detonator to cause a deadly explosion, possessing an explosive substance, participating in a terrorist group, instructing others to finance terrorism, and facilitating terrorism.

© 2011 AFP

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