Supreme Court of Canada upholds terrorism conviction and sentence of life imprisonment

By Christine Duhaime | December 15th, 2012

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an appeal by convicted terrorist Mohammed Khawaja from a decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal that upheld his conviction for terrorism under the Anti-Terrorism Act and had imposed a sentence of life imprisonment plus 24 years on Khawaja for his crimes.

The decision is a positive one for counter-terrorist financing legal efforts in Canada.

By way of background, Khawaja was no small-scale terrorist. As noted by the Ontario Court of Appeal, he:

  • Was an active member of a terrorist group whose goal was to eradicate western culture and civilization and establish Islamic dominance;
  • Was prepared to go anywhere and do anything for the violent jihadist cause;
  • At the time of arrest, was in possession of a prototype remote detonator device and had promised to build 30 more such devices for a terrorist group.  The device was intended to be used to bomb key locations for the jihad; and
  • Willingly participated knowing that his activity was likely to result in the killing of innocent people on a massive scale.

In several e-mails Khawaja expressed the need to devise a way to drain the economies of “Kuffars” (a derogatory term for non-Muslims) of all their resources, crippling their industries and bankrupting their systems by violent means including through the random murder of civilians.

Khawaja is the first person convicted in Ontario under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

You can read the decision by the Supreme Court of Canada here.

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