Terrorist who plotted to kill Canadian PM walks away free | world | Hindustan Times
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Terrorist who plotted to kill Canadian PM walks away free

world Updated: Jan 21, 2010 16:10 IST

On Wednesday, a terrorist who was involved in an al Qaeda-linked plot to behead the prime minister and blow up security and corporate targets four years ago was freed.

Known as the Toronto-18 terror plot, it was unearthed in June 2006 with the arrest of 18 Muslim men, mostly of Pakistani origin, from the Toronto area. After locking up for life the ringleader of the terrorist Zakaria Amara earlier this week, a court on Wednesday allowed Amin Durrani, 23, to walk away free.

Durrani, who entered a guilty plea and got seven and a half years in jail, walked away a free man after getting credit for time already spent in jail since his arrest four years ago.

"He (Durrani) was not at the top or the leader ... (but) he was not one of the least involved,'' said judge Bruce Durno, delivering the verdict.

But the prosecution sought stiffer sentence for Durrani, telling the court how the terrorist "spoke of dying and meeting God in Heaven.''

The court also heard his intercepted conversation with a co-accused, in which the plotter said, "We are thinking of taking over this country.''

The freed terrorist will live under strict probationary conditions for three years and submit his DNA to a national databank.

Expressing remorse for his role in the plot, Durrani said, "I completely and fully realize what mistakes I have made and it is almost as if I feel stupid that I made those mistakes, but what's done is done.

"I did make a mistake. I was 19. I completely and fully realize what mistake I made.''

In what could have been Canada's 9/11, the al Qaeda-inspired plotters had planned to storm the Canadian parliament, and take Prime Minister Stephen Harper hostage and behead him.

They had also planned to use blow up the Toronto Stock Exchange, offices of the Canadian spy agency and many other targets.

To carry out the plot, they had undergone training in firearms at a rural camp far away from Toronto in December 2005.

The plot was unearthed when a mole - paid more than $4 million by the police to act as a coconspirator - blew the whistle on it.