Canada jails terrorist who had Pakistan links

March 13th, 2009 - 9:36 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, March 13 (IANS) Canada Thursday jailed its first terrorist - who had links with a terror camp in Pakistan - for ten and a half years under the new anti-terror law enacted after 9/11.
Twenty-nine-year-old software engineer Momin Khwaja, who was convicted of five terrorism-related charges last October, was handed down the first-ever conviction under the new terror law by a court in Ottawa Thursday.

Canadian-born Khwaja was arrested five years ago for his alleged links to a British bombing plot which was unearthed in 2004. During his arrest, police had also found detonator components, six guns and huge quantities of ammunition from his home in Orleans.

In sentencing five British Muslims for life in April 2007 for the plot, a London court had named Khwaja as their co-conspirator.

On his arrest, Khwaja was charged with financing and abetting terrorism by visiting a terror camp in Pakistan for weapon training and planning to go to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban.

He was also charged with planning to make a remote-controlled detonator - he called Hi-fi Digimonster to set off explosions.

In his verdict Thursday, Judge Douglas Rutherford sentenced Khwaja to four years for building the detonator with the intent of causing explosions.

But since the prosecution could not prove that Khwaja knew his British co-conspirators planned to use his detonator to set off explosions at British domestic targets, he was acquitted of involvement in the British plot.

“Under our new terrorism laws all of these sentences have to be served consecutively so that means 10-and-a-half more years in prison for Momin Khwaja,” the judge said.

Since he has already been jail for five years, Khwaja will be eligible for parole after five years.

The prosecution had demanded life sentence for Khwaja. But the defence said the sentence was “excessive” and they will appeal against it.

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