Muslim terrorist plotter who wanted to behead Canadian PM was convert to Islam with military training
Town of Mississagua Canadian Waziristan - 6 plotters from Meadowvale members of same mosque
Plot to behead PM?
Former soldier accused of plan to murder Harper, lawyer reveals
FRANK GUNN/CANADIAN PRESS
Family members and friends of 15 Canadians charged in an alleged terror plot make their way through a gauntlet of media as they leave court in Brampton yesterday. A total of 17 people were arrested Friday, accused of plotting to stage a massive terrorist attack in southern Ontario.
The terrorism suspect who allegedly plotted to behead the Prime Minister was a Canadian soldier for four years and likely received weapons training.
The Toronto Star has learned that Steve Vikash Chand was a member of the Royal Regiment of Canada, a reservist unit that meets in Toronto.
Chand, who later converted to Islam and went by the name Abdul Shakur, is charged with belonging to a terrorist group, receiving training and recruiting or training others to participate in terrorist activity. The charges partly involve allegations that Chand and eight other suspects spent five days last winter in a remote field in Washago, Ont., to participate in terrorist training.
Cmdr. Denise Laviolette confirmed yesterday that Chand was once in the military, but sought to dispel any suggestion that the 25- year-old was a well-honed soldier.
Chand was one of 17 suspects arrested as part of a massive police raid late last week. They are accused of being members of an alleged homegrown terrorist cell, plotting attacks in Canada.
At a Brampton courthouse yesterday, 15 of the suspects appeared for a brief hearing and will remain in custody for a week until their bail hearings begin.
Two suspects are already serving time in a Kingston penitentiary on weapons offences.
Chand's lawyer, Gary Batasar, stunned the courtroom by revealing that his client and the 16 others are accused of being involved in a "detailed terrorist plot," which included plans to storm the Parliament buildings, take political hostages, harm hostages if Canadian troops didn't withdraw from Afghanistan and attack media outlets including the CBC.
Relying on a government lawyers' synopsis, Batasar indicated that Chand was also alleged as a suspect "likely to behead Prime Minister Stephen Harper."
-------------------------------------------THE MISSISSAUGA NEWS Terror suspect wanted to kill PM, court hears
One of the 12 adults facing terrorism charges also wanted to "personally behead the Prime Minister of Canada," according to allegations made by the federal government and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in a synopsis document.
Ten of the 12 suspects, including six men from Mississauga, appeared at the Brampton provincial courthouse yesterday for a bail hearing, but were all remanded to later dates. Nine of them next appear June 12, while one appears July 4.
Gary Batasar, the lawyer for 25-year-old Toronto resident Steven Chand, who is accused of receiving terrorist training, said the synopsis of accusations provided by the Crown included allegations that the group wanted to "storm the Parliament buildings, and "take politicians hostage."
It also indicated that the CBC building in downtown Toronto was a potential target.
Batasar told reporters outside the court his client was accused of wanting to decapitate Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Batasar said the group also allegedly planned to behead the hostages if their demands - the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the release of Muslim prisoners - weren't met.
Batasar accused those authorities, as well as the U.S. government and President George W. Bush, of trying to instill fear in the public.
The accused have been charged under the anti-terrorism act introduced into the Criminal Code in December of 2001, a few months after the attacks of Sept. 11.
This is only the second time the terrorism laws have been used in Canada.
The arrests were made Friday night and Saturday morning in raids conducted by 400 officers and led by the RCMP's anti-terrorism task force.Terror suspect accused of wanting to behead prime minister: lawyer
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
BRAMPTON, Ont — A 25-year-old restaurant worker is accused of planning to storm Parliament Hill, behead Prime Minister Stephen Harper, take hostages and behead them unless the group's demands were met, accoridng to his lawyer.
Gary Batasar, the lawyer for Steven Chand (also known by his Muslim name Abdul Shakur), emerged from court Tuesday saying Crown prosecutors had provided him with an eight-page "summary" of the charges against his client and 16 other men arrested last week.
"My client is being accused of plotting to storm the Parliament buildings, take hostages (and) make demands to remove Canadian troops from Afghanistan and to free Muslim prisoners," Batasar said outside the Brampton, Ont. courthouse.
"He is supposed to have planned to behead hostages if his demands weren't met ... and to want to behead the prime minister. The last thing was that they were going to storm the CBC building downtown (in Toronto) to take over communications to broadcast their message."
Chand is one of 17 men, all Muslims, who were arrested Friday and charged with planning a terrorist attack. Police said the men were planning to build a simple but effective bomb using fertilizer and diesel fuel.
Sources said the men were in an advanced stage of planning two attacks: a truck bombing to destroy a significant building and an attack involving opening fire on a crowded public place.
Fifteen of the accused, including five young offenders, appeared in court Tuesday under tight security for an initial hearing and to set dates for bail hearings.
Batasar would not comment on whether his client denies the accusations, but said: "Mr. Chand is certainly quite perturbed by these allegations."
In Ottawa, Harper brushed off the alleged death threats with a joke as he exited the House of Commons following the question period.
"I can live with all these threats as long as they don't come from my caucus," he told reporters.
At Tuesday's hearing, the accused shuffled into the crowded courtroom in three separate groups, handcuffed together and wearing white T-shirts and grey sweatpants. Friends and family of the men filled almost all of the available seats, with about 15 reporters lining the back rows of the court.
The men listened while their lawyers argued over their clients' treatment since they were jailed last Friday night, the inadequacy of Crown disclosure of evidence and their clients' inability to meet with their lawyers or family members.
Asad Ansari, 21, Fahim Ahmad, 21, Zakaria Amara, 20, Qayyum Abdul Jamal, 43, Amin Mohamed Durrani, 19, and Jahmaal James, 23, are to return to court June 12 for bail hearings, along with three of the young offenders, who cannot be identified.
Shareef Abdelhaleen, 30, will return on July 4 for a bail hearing. One of the youths will also have a bail hearing on June 16 and Saad Khalid, 19, is to be back in court on June 30.
"What we have received today is such bare bones, so little, that it's virtually impossible to comment on the authenticity of the synopsis that has been provided to us," said Arif Raza, the lawyer for Khalid.
He said his 19-year-old client is accused of attending a training camp in Ontario and was arrested at the time of the delivery of the tonnes of ammonium nitrate, which police had intercepted and replaced with an inert substance.
Donald McLeod, lawyer for Jahmaal James, said defence lawyers have complained their clients were being held in segregation, under 24-hour supervision and were not allowed to use the telephone or to speak to their family members.
He also complained of restrictions in his access to his client, including only being allowed to speak to him through a Plexiglas shield and then only with guards present. He added that the accused are being refused their religious rights.
"They're Muslim," McLeod said. "Clearly they'd like to be able to pray as a group. I'd like to facilitate that religious freedom they're entitled to."
Anser Farooq, who is representing a number of the accused men, questioned whether his clients would receive a fair trial, given the extensive media attention the case has drawn.
"My clients are entitled to a fair trial ... and to be treated the same way as anyone else who has been accused of an offence," he said. "They are presumed innocent — they are innocent until they are proven guilty in court."