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Ontario court sentences 'Toronto 18' member to 10 years

A judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice [official website] Friday sentenced [press release] Steven Vikash Chand, a man previously convicted [JURIST report] in connection with the failed Toronto 18 [CBC timeline; JURIST news archive] terrorist plot, to 10 years in prison. Justice Fletcher Dawson handed down [National Post report] the sentence, which is greater than the eight years advocated by the defense, but Chand, who has been in prison since 2006, was credited for time served [CBC report] and will only serve another seven months and 10 days. Chand was previously found guilty [press release] of "participation in a terrorist group" and "counseling to commit fraud over $5,000 for the benefit of a terrorist group," which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, after attempting to take out fraudulent bank loans [CBC report] in order to support the group. Both sides have 30 days to appeal the sentence.

Last month, the court also sentenced [JURIST report] Fahim Ahmad [JURIST news archive], the leader of the "Toronto 18", to 16 years in prison for his role in the terrorist organization. Ahmad's sentence was greater than the 12 years suggested by the defense but less than the 18 years requested by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) [official website]. The sentence follows an unanticipated change to a guilty plea mid-trial [JURIST report] in May. In February, Toronto 18 member Shareef Abdelhaleem was convicted [JURIST report] after a Canadian judge found that virtually no evidence existed to support his claims of entrapment. In January, Amin Mohamed Durrani was released [JURIST report] after pleading guilty to participating in and assisting a terrorist group. Also in January, a Canadian court sentenced [JURIST report] two members of the group, Zakaria Amara and Saad Gaya [JURIST op-ed], to life and 12 years in prison, respectively, for their roles in the plot. Abdelhaleem was the first adult to be tried among the "Toronto 18," originally arrested and charged under Section 83 [Canadian DOJ backgrounder] of the Anti-Terrorism Act [text], Canada's post-9/11 legislation.

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