Toronto: Canada Monday sentenced to 16 years the main leader in the country`s first al Qaeda inspired mass-murder plot unearthed in 2006. Known as the Toronto-18 terror plot, it was uncovered with the arrest of 18 Muslims, mostly of Pakistani origin, in June 2006.
The plotters had planned to storm the Canadian parliament, take Prime Minister Stephen Harper hostage and behead him.
They had also planned to use blow up the Toronto Stock Exchange, military installations and offices of the Canadian spy agency to revenge Canada`s participation in the war in Afghanistan.
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.
Zakaria Amara, 24, the ring leader of the plot, was jailed for life in January.
A court here Monday sentenced Afghan-born Fahim Ahmad, 26, to 16 years for his role in the plot. Since the terrorist has been behind bars since June 2006, the judge gave him a time served credit of eight years and nine months.
"As a leader and the person who initiated all of the activities that have given rise to these other (Toronto 18) convictions, it is fitting that Fahim Ahmad receive a sentence that reflects his leadership role," said the judge in the verdict.
But under Canada`s lenient laws, the father of two will be eligible for parole in three and a half years.
Because of its lax laws, Canada has come under criticism from the US where many people still believe that the 9/11 hijackers came from Canada.
However, attempts to tighten anti-terror laws face problems because of this country`s so-called Charters of Rights and Freedoms introduced in 1982.
Canada is home to more than a million Muslims, and their population is projected to triple in the next 20 years.