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Canada court sentences 'Toronto 18' member to life without parole

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice [official website] on Friday sentenced Shareef Abdelhaleem, a member of the Toronto 18 [Toronto Star backgrounder; JURIST news archive] terrorist group, to life in prison without parole. Justice Fletcher Dawson said that Abdelhaleem still posed a substantial risk to the public [Toronto Star report] and has not shown remorse for his part in the failed terrorist plot to enact a series of violent attacks on civilians, public officials and government buildings. Abdelhaleem, the first adult of the group to be tried, allegedly planned to profit from the attacks [Toronto Star report] by buying and selling certain stocks before the bombings. Before being convicted in January 2010, Abdelhaleem pleaded not guilty [JURIST report], arguing that he was entrapped by Shaher Elsoheny, his former classmate who worked as a police informant and provided intelligence [National Post report] against Abdelhaleem and others that eventually led to the arrests.

The accused leader of the terrorist group, Zakaria Amara, pleaded guilty [JURIST report] in 2009 to charges of planning to bomb three targets in Ontario. The same month, another member of the group, Ali Mohamed Dirie, was sentenced to seven years in prison [JURIST report] for his part in the plot, while another, Saad Gaya, pleaded guilty. In September, the first of the group to plead guilty, Saad Khalid, was sentenced to 14 years in prison [JURIST report], though the Canadian government is seeking to alter that sentence for time already served. The first of the suspects to be convicted under Canada's post-9/11 terrorism law was sentenced and released [JURIST reports] in May, with the court citing time served. The Toronto 18 were arrested [JURIST report] in 2006.

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