A look at recent cases where Canadians have been accused or identified as having ties with terrorism-related activity at home and abroad.
On Jan. 16, 2013, a group of about 40 heavily armed Islamists took over a sprawling gas plant in Algeria near the Libyan border and held it for four days before Algeria's military retook the installation. At the end of the seige, the attackers triggered a massive explosion. Of several hundred hostages, 38 were killed. The attackers, almost all of whom were killed in the military raid, were from a number of countries, including Canada:
- Xris Katsiroubas: The 22-year-old from London, Ont., was killed in the attack on the Algerian gas refinery. He grew up in a middle-class London neighbourhood and attended London South Secondary school. He lived with his mother after his parents divorced, and by all accounts seemed normal. One former friend recalls that in the early years, at least, "he was like all the other kids, very smart in school, quite active."
- Ali Medlej: A former London, Ont., high school student linked to al-Qaeda who was killed carrying out the attack on the Algerian gas plant. Medlej was one of 36 people arrested by authorities in neighbouring Mauritania in late 2011 during a broad round-up of suspected al-Qaeda extremists in the North African nation. He was reportedly held and interrogated for about 40 days, and then simply released into the deserts of Mauritania before Canadian authorities were informed of his detention.
- Aaron Yoon: A former high school classmate of Medlej and Katsiroubas, Yoon was arrested in the same al-Qaeda sweep that nabbed Medlej in Mauritania. But unlike his pal, Yoon was not released, instead sentenced in 2012 to two years in jail allegedly for having ties to a terrorist group and posing a danger to the national security of Mauritania. Yoon was studying at a religious school in Mauritania before his arrest and imprisonment in the country. There is no evidence Yoon ever planned to participate in the Algerian refinery attack, and he has denied any involvement in terrorist activities. He has been held has been in a prison in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, since the summer of 2012.
- Ryan Enderi: A fourth classmate of the group from London, Ont., Enderi is missing. Also known as Mujahid, Enderi is a Libyan-Canadian from London who is believed to have travelled overseas around the same time as the three other young men from the same community. Enderi attended the same London, Ont., high school as Medlej, Katsiroubas and Yoon, but was several grades behind them.
Bulgaria bus suicide bombing
On July 18, 2012, a suicide bomber killed five Israelis, their local bus driver and himself at Burgas airport in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian government has said the bombing was orchestrated by two members of the military wing of the Lebanese group Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran.
Bulgaria says one of the two suspects lived in Lebanon "since 2006 and 2010" but used his Canadian passport to enter Bulgaria. Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has said the suspect was born in Lebanon and moved to Vancouver, B.C., with his mother when he was about eight years old. He was awarded citizenship several years later. The suspect, then 12, left Canada 10 years ago and has "not normally been a resident" here since, said Kenney. In February, Kenney said he knows the suspect's name but wouldn't reveal it.
William Plotnikov, then 15, emigrated from Russia with his family in 2005 and settled in Toronto. In his teens, William was a championship boxer in Russia and in Canada. He converted to Islam around 2009, quickly adopting extremist views. He left Canada in 2010, eventually joining an insurgent group in Dagestan, a Russian republic in the Caucasus.
Plotnikov was one of seven insurgents killed in an ambush by Russian troops in July 2012.
Rudwan Khalil Abubaker
The Abubaker family, originally from Eritrea, came to Canada as refugees and settled in East Vancouver. Rudwan graduated from high school in 1997 and then worked as an actor, a model and in a clothing store.
In June 2004 he and his friend Kamal Elbahja left Vancouver on a trip to Dubai to visit relatives. The two men flew to Dagestan on Aug. 23, 2004. The Abubaker family only learned about that trip after a shootout in Chechnya a few weeks later, on Oct. 7, in which Russian special forces say they killed four rebels.
A few days later the FSB, Russia's security agency, invited CBC journalists to Chechnya. Once there, the journalists were shown a photo of a bloated corpse, a Canadian passport, a B.C. driver's licence and an airplane ticket belonging to Rudwan Khalil Abubaker.
- In 2004 Abubaker's family said he wasn't a bomb-making rebel
- Read about the CBC journalists' trip to Chechnya
B.C. Legislature plot
On July 2, 2013, two B.C. residents were charged with plotting an attack on the B.C. Legislature in Victoria on Canada Day. Amanda Marie Korody, 30, and John Stewart Nuttall, 39, both of Surrey, B.C., have each been charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity and possession of an explosive substance.
Police said that Korody and Nuttall had planned to carry out the attack using a pressure cooker bomb filled with nuts, bolts, nails, washers and other materials.
The pair are both Canadian-born citizens, said police, and were "inspired by al-Qaeda ideology," but added the incident has no international links. Both Korody and Nuttall were arrested in Abbotsford, B.C., and are now in police custody in Surrey.
Via train bomb plot
Three men were arrested April 22, 2013, accused in a plot to derail a passenger train in the Toronto area. Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, of Montreal, and Raed Jaser, 35, from Toronto, were charged with conspiracy to carry out a terrorist attack and "conspiring to murder persons unknown for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group."
Both men denied the allegations.
Ahmed Abassi, who had previously resided in Canada, was arrested the same day in New York, the FBI revealed on May 9. Abassi had been in contact with an undercover FBI agent.
Police and international intelligence agencies had been investigating since August 2012, calling it Operation Smooth. RCMP Assistant Commissioner James Malizia said the two accused were getting "direction and guidance" from al-Qaeda in Iran.
Chiheb Esseghaier had been doing doctoral research at the Institute National de la Recherche Scientifique in Varennes, Que. His mother, Raoudha Esseghaier, lives in Tunisia and told CBC News: "He is a very good boy. He loves his studies." His father, Mohammed Rached Esseghaier, questioned the evidence against his son, but admitted that in the past few years his son had changed and that the changes did not please him.
Raed Jaser was born in the United Arab Emirates where his Palestinian family had moved from Gaza, and was 15 when he arrived at Toronto's Pearson airport on March 28, 1993, with his mother, father and two siblings. They came to Canada from Germany where they had lived as refugee claimants for about two years. The family had fake French passports, and immediately claimed refugee status. The rest of the family eventually became Canadian citizens, but at age 20, Raed was convicted of five counts of fraud, automatically making him ineligible to apply for permanent residency under the deferred removal program. He was arrested in 2004 and ordered deported, but he appealed. He applied for a pardon of his criminal convictions, which was granted, and he was given permanent residency in 2012.
- Read the charges against Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser
- Misbahuddin Ahmed, Khurram Sher and Hiva Alizadeh. Arrested on Aug. 26, 2010, they are all charged with conspiracy to knowingly facilitate a terrorist activity, as well as other offences. Ahmed, an Ottawa X-ray technologist, was released on bail on Sept. 28, 2010, and Sher, a London, Ont., doctor, on Oct. 13. Alizadeh remains in custody. On May 14, 2012 the Crown added a charge of participation in the activities of a terrorist group against Ahmed and Alizadeh. In late May, 2012, federal prosecutors made a successful bid to move the cases of all three men directly to trial in Ontario Superior Court.
Arms for Hezbollah
- Mouna Diab: In 2012, Diab, a Quebec Muslim who has fought against the stereotyping of Muslims, became the first woman in Canada to face charges related to a foreign terrorist organization. She was charged with smuggling firearms parts to Hezbollah. According to the RCMP, Diab acted under the direction of a Hezbollah associate in Lebanon to buy rifle parts around Montreal and ship them to Lebanon.
- Hassan Almrei, Adil Charkaoui, Mohamed Harkat, Mahmoud Jaballah and Mohammad Mahjoub are being held under security certificates but have not been charged. On Jan. 20, 2011 the federal government began deportation proceedings against Harkat, who's from Algeria. However, on April 25, 2012 the Federal Court of Appeal ordered a new hearing to determine whether Harkat’s a national security threat, upholding the constitutionality of security certificates but excluding some of the evidence against Harkat. On Nov. 22, 2012, the Supreme Court annoucned it would hear an appeal of Harkat's case, testing the constitutionality of the security certificate law. The public appeal is scheduled to be heard Oct. 11, 2013.
- Momin Khawaja: Arrested in 2004, he was the first person charged under the federal Anti-terrorism Act. He was convicted in 2008 of financing and facilitating terrorism and for building a remote-control device that could trigger bombs. Khawaja's initial sentence of 10½ years in prison was increased to life imprisonment by the Ontario Court of Appeal on Dec. 17, 2010. His case was reviewed by the Supreme Court in 2012. On Dec. 14, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously upheld the country's anti-terrorism law, rejecting Khawaja's appeal. The top court justices ruled that violent acts are not protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and upheld Khawaja's sentence of life imprisonment with no chance of parole for 10 years.
- Prapaharan Thambithurai: The first person convicted in Canada for raising money for a terrorist group, he was sentenced to a six-month jail term on May 11, 2010. The B.C. Court of Appeal rejected the Crown's request for a longer sentence on March 21, 2011. The charge was based on Thambithurai's collection of a single donation of $600 for the World Tamil Movement from a friend in Vancouver in 2008. He pleaded guilty.
- Toronto 18: Of the 18 people arrested in 2006 as part of an alleged terrorist group, seven admitted guilt and four were convicted. Charges against the other seven were stayed or dropped. Ring leader Zakaria Amara received a life sentence, as did Shareef Abdelhaleem. Saad Khalid received 20 years and Saad Gaya was sentenced to 18 years.
- Said Namouh: Arrested in Quebec in 2007, he was convicted on four terrorism-related charges in 2009 in connection with bomb targets in Germany and Austria. He was sentenced on Feb. 17, 2010, to life in prison.
- Ramanan Mylvaganam, Suresh Sriskandarajah and Piratheepan Nadarajah: They were arrested in 2006 on U.S. accusations of assisting the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist group in Sri Lanka. Mylvaganam was extradited to the U.S., entered a guilty plea and was sentenced in May 2012 to time served. The other two men were released on bail Jan. 6, 2011 to appeal their extradition order to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled in Dec. 2012 that both men could be sent to the U.S. to face charges of supporting the Tamil Tigers. Sriskandarajah — former president of the Tamil Students Association at the University of Waterloo, Ont. — is alleged to have laundered money and conspired to procure and smuggle equipment for the Tigers. U.S. prosecutors charge Nadarajah with attempting to buy missiles and AK-47 assault rifles on the Tigers' behalf.
- Sayfildin Tahir Sharif: On Jan. 19, 2011, a U.S. court issued an arrest warrant for the Edmonton resident on charges of providing material support for terrorists and conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals. Other charges have since been added to the indictment. Sharif was arrested by the RCMP and is facing extradition, with a hearing scheduled for Sept. 24, 2012. The charges are related to two 2009 suicide bombings in Iraq. He is also known as Faruq Khalil Muhammad 'Isa.
- Hassan Diab: France is seeking his extradition, alleging the sociology professor at the University of Ottawa participated in a deadly bombing of a Paris synagogue in 1980. On April 4, 2012, federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson ordered that Diab be extradited to France to face terror-bombing charges. However, France has yet to lay charges against Diab. The order is under appeal. Diab has been out on bail since March 2009.
- Abdullah Khadr: An Ontario judge denied in 2010 a U.S. request for his extradition, and the Supreme Court of Canada decided on Nov. 3, 2011, that it would not hear the extradition case. The U.S. alleges Khadr, Guantanamo inmate Omar Khadr's brother, procured weapons on behalf of al-Qaeda, and it has been seeking to try him on terrorism-related charges.
- Matin Abdul Stanikzy: In November 2010, the RCMP anti-terrorism squad charged Stanikzy, a landed immigrant from Afghanistan, with attempting to possess explosives with intent to endanger life, among other offences. The Crown alleges he wanted to detonate the explosives at CFB Petawawa. Stanikzy was acquitted of all charges after the case was tried in Pembroke, Ont., in November 2011.
- Many others have been arrested in Canada amid terrorism-related allegations since the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, but they have not been charged.