Member of Canadian terror plot gets life sentence

AP News
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Posted: Mar 04, 2011 2:40 PM
Member of Canadian terror plot gets life sentence

A member of a homegrown terrorist group involved in a plot to set off truck bombs in front of Canada's main stock exchange and two government buildings received a life sentence on Friday.

Shareef Abdelhaleem, 35, was a member of the so-called "Toronto 18" plot to set off bombs outside Toronto's Stock Exchange, a building housing Canada's spy agency and a military base.

He was convicted last year of participating in a terrorist group and intending to cause an explosion. Judge Fletcher Dawson gave Abdelhaleem the same sentence as the group's ringleader, Zakaria Amara.

Abdelhaleem will eligible to begin applying for parole as early as 2016.

The judge said Abdelhaleem was motivated by the thought of getting rich after the attacks wreaked havoc on the stock market, but also had a fantasy of being a hero in the Islamic world.

"Mr. Abdelhaleem exhibits no genuine remorse or insight into his behavior and has so far not accepted responsibility for his dangerous actions," Dawson said.

The plot, if carried out during the morning rush hour, would have killed hundreds of people and would have been "a massive blow" physically and psychologically to the country, Dawson said.

Abdelhaleem and 17 others were arrested in the summer of 2006. Charges were dropped or stayed against seven people while 11 others were sent to prison.

The arrests heightened fears in a country where many people thought they were relatively immune from terrorist strikes.

Defense lawyer William Naylor said he expects Abdelhaleem will appeal. Abdelhaleem insisted he was being unfairly treated by the justice system and suggested his extreme political views on the Middle East have been backed up by massive protests that ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

He also insisted he had remorse.

"I am not denying what I did was wrong," he said. "I am sorry."

Abdelhaleem was the last member of the so-called Toronto 18 terror group to be sentenced.