Convicted Toronto 18 member handed life sentence
Published Friday, March 4, 2011 1:48PM EST
Shareef Abdelhaleem, the final member of the Toronto 18 to be sentenced for his crimes, has been handed a life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 years.
Abdelhaleem, 35, was sentenced Friday just before noon for his role in a homegrown terror plot to detonate bombs at the Toronto offices of CSIS, the Toronto Stock Exchange and an Ontario military base. He was found guilty last year of participating in a terrorist group and intending to cause an explosion.
Ahead of his sentence, Shareef delivered a 23-minute rambling speech, in which he claimed he never intended to harm anyone. He also said that Canadians have been silent on the blatant injustice of his case.
He asked the judge to sentence him as if he were a "white Catholic and not a Muslim."
Justice Fletcher Dawson responded that his decision had nothing to do with Abdelhaleem's religious affiliation.
Abdelhaleem's lawyer told CTV that his client was disappointed but not surprised by the verdict, as eleven of the men arrested in the so-called Toronto 18 case have already faced convictions. The mastermind of the plot, Zakaria Amara, 24, was also sentenced to life, the first time the maximum sentence had been handed down under Canada's anti-terrorism laws.
Abdelhaleem was arrested on June 2, 2006. He has already spent four years and eight months in jail, so will be eligible for parole in about five years. He has 30 days to appeal the sentence.
With a report by CTV Toronto's John Musselman