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Canada prosecutors to appeal first sentence under new anti-terrorism act

[JURIST] The Public Prosecution Service of Canada [official website] on Tuesday sought leave to appeal [press release] the prison sentence of 10.5 years given to Mohammed Momin Khawaja [CBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], the first person to be charged and tried under the Anti-Terrorism Act [text; CBC backgrounder], arguing that the sentence was too lenient. Khawaja was convicted [JURIST report] in October of designing a remote detonator and providing other support to a group that was convicted in 2007 [JURIST report] of planning to detonate a large fertilizer bomb. When Ontario Superior Court [official website] Justice Douglas Rutherford sentenced Khawaja [reasons for sentence, PDF; JURIST report] in March, prosecutors asked that he be given more than two life sentences. Lawyers for Khawaja have also said they will appeal the sentence [CNS report], arguing that it was too long, and that he should have been granted more credit for time served.

Khawaja was found guilty of participating in a terrorist group, instructing a person to finance terrorism, making property available to terrorists, contributing to a terrorist group, and facilitating terrorism. In June, Khawaja pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to the charges and his lawyer said the allegations were exaggerated and based on hearsay evidence that should have been excluded. In 2007, Canadian Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley refused to require the release of confidential evidence [JURIST report] against Khawaja, explaining that "disclosure of most of the information would be injurious to national security or to international relations." Khawaja was arrested [JURIST report] in March 2004.

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