Nary a day goes by without another arrest or conviction of Muslims involved in trying to kill non-Muslims. via Via Rail plot trial: Raed Jaser, Chiheb Esseghaier found guilty on several terror charges – Toronto – CBC News.
Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier, two men accused of plotting to derail a Via passenger train travelling between Canada and the U.S., have been found guilty of a series of terror-related charges.
Esseghaier was found guilty of all charges against him while Jaser was convicted on all but one charge. After 10 days of deliberation, the jury said it was “irrevocably deadlocked” on the charge against Jaser of “conspiring to interfere with transportation facilities for the benefit of a terrorist group.”
But Judge Michael Code told jurors he would accept their unanimous decision on the other charges.
Among other charges, both men were found guilty of conspiring to commit murder for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group.
Jaser’s lawyer had argued that his client was only pretending to be interested in the plan as part of an elaborate scheme to extract money from Esseghaier and the undercover officer.
Both men could face maximum punishment of life in prison.
The lead prosecutor Croft Michaelson said it was an overwhelming case in terms of evidence against the two men. But he said it was also a difficult and legally complex case, which is why it took the jurors 10 days to come to their verdicts.
Asked about the accused, Michaelson said he would describe them as “real serious public dangers.”
The court heard conversations in which Jaser and Esseghaier discussed their ideologies, the alleged plot to derail a Via Rail train travelling between New York and Toronto and other ideas for potential attacks, including Jaser’s alleged “sniper plot” idea, which would have been in retaliation for Canadian military actions in Muslim countries.
Jurors were also shown aerial surveillance of the two accused and the undercover officer scouting a railway bridge in September 2012 in broad daylight as several trains passed by only metres away.
Their presence on the bridge drew attention, and the men were stopped after they had returned to their vehicle by uniformed Toronto police officers who were unaware the men were under surveillance. The FBI agent told officers they were sightseeing and the men were given a warning.
Jaser, a Canadian permanent resident of Palestinian descent, pleaded not guilty. He did not testify in his own defence.
Esseghaier, a Tunisian national who was pursuing a PhD in Montreal when he and Jaser were arrested in April 2013, chose not to participate in his trial, because he wants to be judged by the rules of the Qur’an.
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