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Canada Supreme Court declines to hear 'Toronto 18' appeal

The Supreme Court of Canada [official website] on Thursday declined to hear the appeals of three men convicted of participation in a terrorist plot. Zakaria Amara, Saad Khalid and Saad Gaya, who were members of the "Toronto 18" terrorist group, were given sentences ranging from 14 years to life for their participation in a failed plot to enact a series of violent attacks on civilians, public officials and government buildings. Their appeal sought to lighten the sentences, asking the Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality of sentencing guidelines for terrorist convicts. The court on Thursday said it would not hear the appeal without issuing any further comment.

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 Saad Gaya plead guilty while another member of the group, Ali Mohamed Dirie, was sentenced to seven years in prison [JURIST report]. In September 2009, the first of the group to plead guilty, Saad Khalid, was sentenced to 14 years in prison [JURIST report], though the Canadian government sought 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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