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Canadian Terror Suspect Accused of Plan to Behead Canadian PM

Reuters is reporting that Steven Chand, one of the Canadian terror suspects, is accused of planning to behead Canadian PM Stephen Harper.

BRAMPTON, Ontario (Reuters) - One of 17 men accused of plotting bombings in major Canadian cities and of training militants also faces an allegation that he sought to behead Prime Minister Stephen Harper, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

Steven Chand, 25, was among 15 members of the alleged terrorist ring who appeared in a heavily guarded courtroom north of Toronto to set dates for bail hearings.

The Muslim men, five of them under the age of 18, were arrested on Friday in Canada's largest counterterrorism operation, and police said more arrests are possible.

Chand's lawyer, Gary Batasar, said his client faced several serious charges and was concerned that intense media interest in the details of the case in Canada and the United States could jeopardize Chand's chances of a fair trial.

Allegations include plans for the "storming and bombing of various buildings," Batasar told reporters.

"There's an allegation apparently that my client personally indicated that he wanted to behead the prime minister of Canada," Batasar said.

"It's a very serious allegation -- he's said nothing about that. My clients retains the right to silence."

That's a pretty shocking charge, but since beheading is the one of the terrorists' preferred method of killing in the Middle East, particularly by Abu Musab al Zarqawi, it isn't hard to believe.

The AP is reporting the same but with a few more details:

At least one member of a group of terror suspects plotted to storm Canada's parliament and behead officials, including the prime minister, if Muslim prisoners in Canada and Afghanistan were not released, according to charges made public Tuesday.

Authorities also alleged that Steven Vikash Chand plotted to take over media outlets such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

The AP also reports about a statement by a Canadian Muslim cleric who has come out against one of the suspects:

A Muslim leader who knew the oldest suspect, 43-year-old Qayyum Abdul Jamal, told The Associated Press that his sermons at a local mosque were "filled with hate" against Canada.

Maybe other Muslim clerics will follow suit and speak out about what these suspects were up to.

Update: The Washington Post has more details on the charges.

Update II: CNN reports that Steven Chand's attorney complained about the security surrounding his client:

Batasar and other defense lawyers complained Tuesday in court that they have not been allowed to meet privately with their clients, who they say are under constant watch by armed guards. He called the tight security unnecessary and unprecedented.

"This is not Guantanamo, this is Toronto, Canada," Batasar said.

Is this guy for real?

Comments (10)

Come to think of it, if he'... (Below threshold)

Come to think of it, if he'd been hell-bent on beheading the PM when Jean "The Cretin" Chretien was in office, I would have mildly disapproved of the plot.

I guess we could loose our ... (Below threshold)

I guess we could loose our heads over even commenting on this. As a Canadian, I am commenting. There is such a thing as good ole Canadian apathy.
When they decapitate me, I will be able to hold my head in the sand with the rest of those who think Islamic law is neutral.

Is this guy for real?</i... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Is this guy for real? Kim

Unfortunately, I think he is. When you have an administration that disregards the Geneva Conventions and comes up with ways to excuse torture, these types of accusations are possible. It's sad that this has become the image America projects to the world. How about you show some anger at the people excusing torture rather than those pointing it out?

But on a different note, I thought we weren't supposed to talk about ongoing investigations?

ahh No, the terrorists hate... (Below threshold)

ahh No, the terrorists hate and behead because of who they are! not what We do.

I think Shakespeare, Milton... (Below threshold)

I think Shakespeare, Milton and Jonson all want to cut their own (figurative) heads off at your egregious abuse of the English language.

How can we be sure you're not some escaped Al Qaeda hooker, Virgo?

Once again, it is all Boooo... (Below threshold)

Once again, it is all Boooosh's fault.
Still, at least this time it wasn't the joooos.
This time.

First, it's unclear from an... (Below threshold)

First, it's unclear from any statement thus far that he intended to behead Harper. The statement may have been made when Martin was PM, as they've apparently been monitoring these people for awhile. This changes nothing--just a clarificatory observation.

Second, I'd like to see his detailed and well-thought-out plan to behead the PM. A few years ago a burglar was able to break into Chretien's place, and got all the way to the master bedroom. His wife had to take the guy out with an Inuit statuette (which is like the funniest thing that's ever happened in this country); this resulted in heightened security. (Mounties officially no longer allowed to sleep during night shift while guarding our national leader.) So you can't just walk in the front door with a sword; at least, not anymore. This is just like that shoe bomber clown, who tried to detonate (non-flammable) plastic explosives on an airplane with a match. These people frighten you? You don't just find them pathetic? If I picked up a salad fork in a restaurant and screamed that I was going to kill your president, and that my plan consisted in inviting him over to try and get him to OD on heroin, would I then be guilty of conspiracy to assassinate the guy?

Apart from having insufficient access to their attorneys, the cops aren't letting them pray, which is something all detained individuals have a right to in our country. This injustice will anger liberal Canadians (i.e. most Torontonians) and is entirely pointless. (It is an injustice, because it contravenes the edicts of our justice system. A semantic point, not a substantive one.) They will be punished when they are convicted; whoever is responsible for denying them their rights, punishing them before they have been afforded due process, should be fired.

You see, we understand, as do a majority of Americans, that when we start to deny our enemies their rights, our enemies win. They hate tolerance, so we can assert our superiority by tolerating their beliefs even while punishing them for their unconscionable actions. As long as you say the bad guys need to be stopped, you aren't soft on terror. Treating your enemies like human beings does not make you soft. It makes you virtuous.

I should add that by "toler... (Below threshold)

I should add that by "tolerating their beliefs", I do not mean permitting them to practice Sharia law. I mean allowing them to observe whatever religious/cultural practices they feel like so long as they do not run afoul of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Praying to Allah is something that ought to be permitted. (And how are they not permitting it, I have to wonder? Are they kicking them when they kneel to pray? Are they confusing them as to what time it is so that they pray at the wrong time and thus fail to catch Allah at a good time? This bothers me. I hope it bothers some of you too.)

LintHow can We be su... (Below threshold)

How can We be sure Your not typing from Your dryer vent?

Bemused, they want to pray ... (Below threshold)
capt joe:

Bemused, they want to pray together and that is what is not being permitted.

The investigators want to keep the defendants separate and the defendants insist on the right to pray together. They can pray as much as they want by themselves but not with each other.

Does that offend your sense of propriety?






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