Court ups sentence for Canada's first 'terrorist'

17th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

A court on Friday increased the sentence of the first Canadian found guilty under the country's anti-terrorism law to life imprisonment for his role in a foiled plot against British targets.

Mohammed Momin Khawaja, 30, was originally sentenced in March 2009 to 10 and a half years, but the Ontario Court of Appeal concluded that the trial judge erred in interpreting sentencing guidelines.

"The Court of Appeal today recognized that terrorism is a global threat to peace and security, and that innocent lives around the world must be protected from terrorists, wherever they are based," the Public Prosecution Service of Canada said.

"The court clearly stated that Canada is not a safe haven for would-be terrorists," it added.

The Ottawa software developer of Pakistani descent was found to have "knowingly participated" and "knowingly facilitated" a terrorist group's plan to attack a popular London nightclub, a shopping mall and a gas network.

Arrested in March 2004, Khawaja was accused of developing detonators for his British associates, possessing explosives, financing terrorism and training as a terrorist in Pakistan.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Douglas Rutherford wrote in his 52-page decision that while Khawaja may not have known the specific details of the plot, he was aware that a detonator he built would be used for a bomb.

Prosecutors had sought a maximum life sentence of 44 to 58 years in prison for Khawaja, similar in length to those handed to five of his co-conspirators in Britain, and had appealed the lighter sentence.

© 2010 AFP

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