Guilty verdicts for 2 suspects in Via train terror plot
Two men accused of plotting to attack a Via Rail passenger train travelling from New York to Toronto were found guilty Friday of terror-related charges.
Toronto: Two men accused of plotting to attack a Via Rail passenger train travelling from New York to Toronto were found guilty Friday of terror-related charges.
Raed Jaser, a Canadian citizen of Palestinian descent, and Chiheb Esseghaier, who is of Tunisian descent, were arrested in 2013. Jaser faced four terror-related charges while Esseghaier faced five. They had pleaded not guilty.
The 10th day of deliberations today, a Toronto jury found Esseghaier guilty on all five terrorism charges against him.
But the jury was deadlocked on one of the four charges that Jaser was facing. Judge Michael Code told jurors today that he has the power to accept their unanimous decisions on the eight other charges.
The jury found both men guilty of conspiring to commit murder for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group.
The jury also found them guilty of two counts of participating in, or contributing to the activity of a terrorist group.
Esseghaier was also found guilty of conspiring to damage transportation property with the intent to endanger safety for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group.
The jury was deadlocked on that same charge for Jaser. Judge Code called a mistrial on that charge.
During the trial, prosecutors had argued the men were motivated by Islamic extremism and spent months plotting to kill as many people as they could.
Jaser's lawyer has argued that his client was only feigning interest in the alleged terror plot as part of an elaborate con to extract money from his co-accused and an undercover FBI agent who befriended the men.
Esseghaier, who was pursuing a PhD in Montreal when he was arrested in 2013, chose not to participate in his trial because he had wanted to be judged by the rules of the Qur'an.