Court hands Namouh life sen­tence for al Qaida-linked bomb plot

Cape Breton Post - - NATIONAL - BY SID­HARTHA BAN­ER­JEE THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

MONTREAL — A ru­ral Que­bec man was sen­tenced to life in prison Wed­nes­day for his role in an over­seas ter­ror­ist bomb plot by an al-Qaida af­fil­i­ated group.

It is just the sec­ond time in Cana­dian le­gal his­tory that a life sen­tence has been handed down in a ter­ror­ism case, af­ter the one last month to one of the so-called ’Toronto 18’, Crown pros­e­cu­tors said.

Said Namouh was found guilty last Oc­to­ber of four ter­ror­ism-re­lated charges re­lat­ing to a loosely planned plot to bomb tar­gets in Ger­many and Aus­tria.

The ter­ror at­tack was mo­ti­vated by those coun­tries’ mil­i­tary pres­ence in Afghanistan.

Namouh was in­volved with the Global Is­lamic Me­dia Front, an or­ga­ni­za­tion rec­og­nized by the court as a ter­ror­ist group that took part in pro­pa­ganda and ji­had re­cruit­ment.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion is de­scribed as an alQaida me­dia tool.

Namouh, 37, will have no chance of pa­role for at least 10 years.

Que­bec court Judge Claude Le­blond said Namouh re­mains danger­ous and re­morse­less whereas in other Cana­dian ter­ror­ism cases, some of the ac­cused had seen the er­ror of their ways.

Le­blond noted that an at­tempt by Namouh to seek the court’s favour by tak­ing the stand dur­ing his sen­tenc­ing hear­ing last Novem­ber had the op­po­site ef­fect.

“In no way since the events has he dis­tanced him­self from ter­ror­ism,” Le­blond said in his judg­ment.

“His at­tempt at ma­nip­u­lat­ing the court dur­ing his sen­tenc­ing hear­ing re­veals the dan­ger he con­tin­ues to rep­re­sent.”

Namouh was ar­rested by the RCMP in Mask­i­nonge, Que., in Septem­ber 2007, and will get credit for time served since then.

The ear­li­est Namouh would be el­i­gi­ble to ap­ply for pa­role would be 2017.

Namouh was found guilty of one count each of con­spir­acy to det­o­nate an ex­plo­sive de­vice, par­tic­i­pat­ing in a ter­ror­ist act, fa­cil­i­tat­ing an act of ter­ror­ism and com­mit­ting ex­tor­tion for a ter­ror­ist group.

He was sen­tenced to life for con­spir­acy and, on the other charges, to four, eight, and eight years, con­cur­rent to the life sen­tence.

Part of the wealth of ev­i­dence against Namouh in­cluded a re­port that in­di­cated a wide-rang­ing hit list of pos­si­ble tar­gets, al­though the tar­gets were never men­tioned in the spe­cific charges.

They in­cluded Vi­enna-based OPEC, prom­i­nent Ger­man and Aus­trian gov­ern- ment of­fi­cials and politi­cians, as well as the Euro 2008 soc­cer tour­na­ment.

The Crown ar­gued that Namouh was on the verge of car­ry­ing out the plan, while the de­fence called that no­tion far-fetched.

The ev­i­dence pre­sented dur­ing his trial showed that Namouh spent count­less hours on ji­had fo­rums and pre­par­ing pro­pa­ganda videos.

The Crown got the life sen­tence it wanted.

“The mes­sage is for peo­ple, not only in this coun­try but abroad also,” said fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor Do­minique Dude­maine.

“ You can­not come into Canada to carry out a plot here or else­where. We are not a safe haven.”

Namouh’s lawyer had ar­gued for a short sen­tence and had called the Crown ev­i­dence overblown as con­cerned to Namouh’s en­thu­si­asm for ji­had.

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