Bomb plotter sentenced to 12 years - Macleans.ca
 

Bomb plotter sentenced to 12 years

“Toronto 18” ringleader will learn his fate later today


 

A McMaster University honours student who participated in a terrorist bomb plot—and was arrested while unpacking a truckload of what he believed was explosive fertilizer—could be released on parole by the end of 2011.

Saad Gaya was slapped with a 12-year prison sentence this morning, but Justice Bruce Durno also ruled that the confessed terrorist deserves seven-and-a-half years credit for the three-and-a-half years he spent in pre-sentence custody—which leaves four-and-a-half years left to serve. The decision means Gaya can apply for parole in approximately 18 months, after completing just one-third of his sentence. The ultimate decision will rest with the National Parole Board.

A member of the so-called “Toronto 18,” Gaya was among the four core suspects who conspired to set off explosives in southern Ontario in retaliation for Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan. Of the four, Gaya was clearly the lowest on the totem pole. He took orders from the admitted ringleader, was assured “no one would get hurt,” and was told their target would be some sort of military facility. It wasn’t until after his arrest that he learned his accomplices had decided on two other targets: the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Toronto headquarters of CSIS, Canada’s spy agency.

Now 21, Gaya did not surface on police radar until two months before the bust, when surveillance officers videotaped him chatting with the ringleader, Zakaria Amara, during a visit to the McMaster campus. Introduced by Saad Khalid, another confessed member of the group, Amara convinced Gaya to help him with his plan, assuring his new friend he would “be a hero in God’s eyes.” Gaya agreed.

On June 2, 2006, he and Khalid were arrested during a sting operation at a warehouse in Newmarket, Ont., unloading what they thought was three tonnes of ammonium nitrate, the same explosive fertilizer used in the Oklahoma City bombing. (Khalid, who also pleaded guilty, has been sentenced to 14 years; Amara will be sentenced later today.)

Now 21, Gaya sat quietly in a bulletproof prisoner’s box as Durno read his decision to a packed courtroom. Dozens of friends and relatives showed up to hear his fate, including his parents and his sister. He did not speak during this morning’s hearing, but after pleading guilty last year, he read a lengthy statement to the judge, accepting full responsibility for his “shameful” actions but insisting that “right from the outset of my involvement in all of this, I was given assurances that no one would get hurt and that this was not going to be like the London bombings of 2005.”

“The purpose conveyed to me,” he continued, “was to urge the authorities to withdraw our armed forces from Afghanistan and it was not to cause permanent damage by the taking of innocent lives. Had I known that my activities would be used by others to intentionally hurt people, I would have ceased my participation immediately. Regardless, I know that I should have realized that I was playing with fire and that I was involved in something extremely dangerous.”

Since his arrest, friends and relatives have contributed $63,000 to an education trust fund that Gaya can access when he is released. “I am not someone who has grown up in a hate-soaked environment, brainwashed to believe that I am part of some eternal war against the Western civilization,” he said. “That is not who I am and these are not the values that are instilled in me. I am asking for this distinction because some people believe that I must have been driven by a dark ideology of hatred, nihilism and destruction. Although that may be the case with many of the people who fall into such activity, I must make it clear that that was not the case with me. I did not take part in this crime out of hatred against this society or its people. I really believed at the time, albeit incorrectly, that by participating in this scheme I would only be assisting the Afghan population in determining their own future without any outside interference. I was young and politically naïve. Today, however, I recognize how irrational and unreasonable this line of thought was. My views have matured and I know with certainty that I will never commit such a mistake again.”


 

Bomb plotter sentenced to 12 years

  1. What a joke of a sentence. Plot mass murder and get a slap on the wrist. These MEN should never see the light of day again as free MEN.

  2. This is nothing… we should be embarrassed about giving this TERRORIST a slap on the wrist. Guaranteed the bleeding heart parole board will let him out in 18 months. THIS IS ONLY GOING TO LEAD TO WORSE

  3. This is PATHETIC Someone plans to blow things up and he can be eligible for parole in 18months. I am a Canadian Citizen and this makes me sick to my stomach, Our laws are a disgrace. These people should never be released. You look at our laws for Young Offenders(thats a joke) serial rapists, child molesters? they all get slaps on their wrists. Wake up Canada because if you don't this place we call home will be over run with Criminals. This certainly would not be the place I would want to live! i am sooooo dissapointed!!

  4. It's a good thing the Senate will be corrected.

  5. It's good to know that in only four and a half years I could be riding on the same bus with a freed terrorist because some joke of a judge somehow intuited that the terrorist himself was "not evil." Thanks Canada!

  6. Ah, our good old Canucki justice system that favors the criminals! 7 1/2 years credit for 3 1/2 years already served — WTF?? I guess it's the new math.

  7. Can we now charge the judge with criminal negligence? I am willing to bet if I was to walk up to this terrorist in a couple years and kick the crap out of him I would get a stiffer penalty. Especially since it would be called a hate crime. Of course plotting the mass murder of "kuffar" is a religious right and not a hate crime.

  8. Another prime example why Canada is considered a harbour for terrorists. The rest of the world just shakes their heads at us.

  9. This is crazy for so many reasons. First, to be working with bomb reagents weighing 3 tonnes and believe nobody would be hurt if it was used in Southern Ontario (likely the area with the densest population in Canada) is ridiculous. Totally unbelievable that this individual did not fully intend to be involved in murder. To have him say such a thing would be reason to double his sentence as it can only been seen as a lie. Second, to have a nice financial reward (aka education trust fund) waiting for him at the other end of 18 months is an insult. If he has an genuine remorse then I certainly hope he will forgo the personal benefit and give the money to the family of a Canadian military personnel who has been injured while fighting for the freedoms of others.

  10. If I'm not mistaken they where going to cut off PM Harper,s head & Family's. That used to be known as treason. In ALL History that was a death sentence no matter what age.
    I figure they got a slap on the wrist for the usual reasons. There Muslim (Must not blasphemy the multicultural scam) Therefor a protected group. It was a Conservative PM. As usual no one believes it when these people say they want to kill you they mean it. Remember Mien Komof any one? Thats Jihad in another language . Hitler laid it all out. As the people we have been at war with for 8 years do all the time. Nobody listens. They will not stop till where dead. Better to live in Leprechaun land with money tree;s & flying dragons than face reality.