Yesterday a Canadian terrorist was sentenced to 15.5 years for his involvement in a plot with a British terror cell to conspire to kill civilians in England. Momin Khawaja received no better than a slap on the wrist, a verdict which has outraged the Canadian public. Here is the coverage from the Ottawa Citizen.
This case was an opportunity for Canada to exact severe punishment against Khawaja as it was the first trial to prosecute an individual under Canada’s newly developed anti-terror legislation. It failed miserably to not only punish him for his crime(s) but to send a firm message to other would-be jihadists that Canada will not tolerate terrorism. Considering that he has already served 5 years in detention he is eligible for parole in another 5, and in all probability will be able to walk free in 2014. In addition to his light sentence, other aspects of this case are very troubling. Why for example was he not charged with high treason? One of the mitigating aspects of his trial was his intention to kill Canadian and NATO forces in Afghanistan; this was an undisputed fact by both the Crown and his defense team. Section 46 of the Canadian criminal code clearly identifies sedition and treason, a criminal act by which Khawaja had clearly involved himself yet he was not charged under this section. Why?
Another interesting fact concerning this case is the questionable involvement of his family. Both of his parents claim that he was a softhearted boy, a thoughtful lad. His mother had hoped that her son would receive time served and was planning a homecoming dinner complete with a movie night. ” We still pray and hope he get’s out,” his mother says additionally hoping her son will appeal the conviction. When asked of the terror plot, she scoffed ” those dirty things”.
Yet crates of ammunition, ak-47’s stashed under his bed, a human target plastered on the home’s basement wall pock-marked with projectiles, electronic detonating devices in-the-works sprawled across the living room and taped conversations with British jihadists were all found by police. Why was his family not charged with aiding and abetting terrorism? Surely they would have had to have known of their son’s involvement. I don’t know of any mother or father oblivious enough not to see ak-47’s under their son’s bed or inquiring of the hi-fi-digimonster electronic apparatus cluttering the parlour.
It is an outrage that Judge Rutherford would sentence this man to such a pithy sentence. This is akin to giving a troublesome little boy a time out in the corner for breaking a lamp or pulling some prized dahlias from the garden. Below are the addresses of both the Department of Justice and the Canadian Minister of Justice for anyone wishing to ask that the crown appeal this decision:
Department of Justice: www.justice.gc.ca
Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice, [email protected]
Despite the expert opinion, this is a case shuffled badly to the wayside only to be filed under absolute negligence. All reason and the primary consideration for the safety of Canadians and innocents abroad has been waived in favour of a weak justice system with little motivation to convict terrorists. Islamists 1; Canada 0.