Ontario’s Court of Appeal sent a stern message on the consequences of terrorism offenses, dramatically increasing sentences given to three convicted Canadian MUSLIM terrorists and dismissing an appeal from the ringleader of the Toronto 18.
How about that, a court with cojones, no doubt in part influenced by the gutsy Canadian PM, Stephen Harper.
National Post– (H/T Susan K)–In the case of Mohammad Momin Khawaja, the first person charged under Canadian anti-terrorism law for financing and facilitating a British-based terrorist group, the court imposed a life sentence plus 24 years — massively upping 10 years he was handed last year after spending five years in pretrial custody.
“Terrorism must not be allowed to take root in Canada. When it is detected, it must be dealt with in the severest of terms,” the judgement stated. The court also dismissed Khawaja’s appeal of his terrorism convictions.
Toronto 18 members Saad Gaya and Saad Khalid, who respectively received 12-year and 14-year sentences for participating in a plot to detonate powerful truck bombs in downtown Toronto, also had their sentences increased substantially — to 18 years for Gaya and 20 for Khalid.
“In imposing the sentence he did, the sentencing judge under-emphasized the enormity of the respondent’s crime and over-emphasized his rehabilitative prospects,” the appeals court wrote in Khalid’s judgement, a sentiment echoed in Gaya’s.
Zakaria Amara, the admitted ringleader of the Toronto 18 plot, pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced in January to life in prison. Despite telling a sentencing hearing he deserved Canadians’ “absolute contempt” along with whatever sentence the judge imposed, he promptly sought leave to appeal after receiving a life term.
The appeals court on Friday dismissed that appeal, noting Amara masterminded a plot that would likely result in “indiscriminate killing of innocent people on a potentially massive scale.
“Indeed, in the appellant’s case, a strong argument can be made that widespread carnage was precisely the outcome that he intended,” the judgement stated. Khawaja’s case marked the first time an appellate level court in Canada has been asked to determine a fit sentence for terrorism offences.
During a hearing in May, prosecutors argued terrorism “is conceptually and morally distinguishable from ordinary crime because it strikes at the very fabric of our free and democratic society.”