Toronto: Canada on Friday let off another terrorist after his guilty plea in the al Qaeda-inspired plot to bomb its major targets in 2006.
Known as the Toronto-18 plot - which could have been Canada`s 9/11 - it was unearthed in June 2006 with the arrest of 18 Muslim men, mostly of Pakistani origin. The plotters had planned to storm and blow up the nation`s parliament in Ottawa, take leaders hostage and behead the prime minister.
They had also planned to drive explosive-laden trucks into the offices of the Canadian spy agency, the Toronto Stock Exchange and a military base here.
To carry out the plot in revenge for Canada`s participation in the Afghan mission, the plotters had undergone training in a winter camp far away from Toronto in December 2005. But the plot was uncovered with the help of a mole who was paid more than USD 4 million by police.
Only the leader of the plot, Zakaria Amara, 24, has been jailed for life so far. Others have been given light sentences. Three still await trial. Seven have charges stayed against them.
Canadians were shocked last month when Amin Mohamed Durrani walked out free after his time in jail was credited towards his sentence.
Yet another terrorist Jamaal James walked out a man free on Friday after pleading guilty in the case for which he automatically got seven years.
But under lax Canadian criminal laws, the guilty gets twice the credit for time served in jail before sentencing. Since Jamaal James has been in jail for more than three and a half years since his arrest 2006, he gets twice the credit for this time and walks out a free man on Saturday.
In his guilty plea, the 26-year-old terrorist admitted that he went to Pakistan in 2005 for arms training and then come back to carry out the plot. He will be under probation for three years.
With Canadians angry at the courts letting off plotters lightly, the government has decided to change the law that gives criminals the credit for time spent in jail before sentencing.
Canada has more a million Muslims in its population of about 34 million.