Newly released court documents shed light on what raised police suspicions about Sabrine Djermane and El Mahdi Jamali, the Montrealers who were teenagers when they were charged with several terrorism-related offences in 2015.
The documents show that it was Djermane's sister who tipped off police and that investigators found materials that could be used to make a homemade bomb at Jamali's home.
The two former College Maisonneuve students each face four charges:
- Attempting to leave Canada to commit a terrorist act.
- Possession of an explosive substance.
- Facilitating a terrorist act.
- Committing an act under the direction of or for the profit of a terrorist organization.
Djermane and Jamali, now both 20, have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to face trial before a judge and jury in September.
The new information comes from portions of search warrant documents that were previously subject to a publication ban.
A judge lifted parts of the ban Thursday.
Sister, friend concerned
Djermane's sister contacted police in April 2015, just a few days before Djermane and Jamali were arrested, telling investigators she was worried her sister had become radicalized.
The sister told police that Djermane had left the family home earlier that month after an argument with her parents over her intention to marry her boyfriend, Jamali.
She said Djermane was living beyond her means, in a condo that cost $1,100 a month.
Investigators also spoke to a friend of Djermane's, who told them Djermane was behaving like someone who'd been radicalized.
The friend said Djermane rarely went out, spoke often of religion and frequently lied to and manipulated people in her circle.
The friend was also concerned about Djermane's finances, telling investigators she and Jamali were living together in an expensive apartment and spending money they didn't have on clothes, a television, a computer and a digital camera.
The documents also list items police found when they searched the apartment the couple was living in, as well as in Jamali's family home.
They included a notebook with instructions on how to make a bomb using a pressure cooker.
Police also found a Dollarama bag containing a roll of duct tape, two nine-volt batteries, a box of nails, Super Glue and a receipt from Dollarama.
The receipt listed other items, including a clock and wooden matches.
Investigators concluded these items could have been used to make an improvised explosive device.
Investigators also seized a document called "Put Your Trust in Allah."
The document referred to the seven gifts someone would receive in the afterlife as a martyr for jihad.
Djermane's sister told police she had seen Jamali's Facebook page and that it featured a photo of a jihadist flag and videos inciting people to fight in Syria.
Police examined the Facebook page and found a video apparently showing combatants inside what appeared to be a mosque involved in a gunfight, along with several references to Islamophobic people as traitors.
It also contained several publications about seminars and conferences at the Islamic Community Centre of East Montreal, which is managed by well-known Muslim leader Adil Charkaoui.
Preparing to leave
At the apartment the couple shared, investigators also found evidence suggesting the pair might have been preparing to leave the country.
They found an application for a new Canadian passport with Djermane's name on it.
They also found a new suitcase with a price tag on it, filled with new clothing that also had price tags still attached.
'Not black and white': defence lawyer
Jamali's defence lawyer, Tiago Murias, cautioned against jumping to conclusions based on the parts of court documents that have now been unsealed.
"There is a difference between believing something and actually doing something criminal," Murias told CBC News. "We strongly believe we will be able to convince a jury there's some subtleties and some liberties involved in that.
"It's not a black-and-white case."
Murias said the defence plans to challenge the constitutionality of some aspects of the terror charges his client faces, which he said have never been tested by the courts.
"We are seriously looking to ask the courts to pronounce themselves on the legality of some sections of the Criminal Code," he said.