Prosecutors want 9-year sentence for Quebec man who tried to join ISIS

Ismael Habib, found guilty of attempting to leave Canada to participate in terrorist activity, returns to the Montreal courthouse for sentencing arguments today.

Ismael Habib caught by undercover RCMP officers saying it was his 'duty' to wage jihad

Ismael Habib was found guilty in June of trying to join ISIS, a case that legal experts said was a major test of Canada's anti-terrorism laws. (Facebook)

Federal prosecutors are seeking a nine-year sentence for a Quebec man who was found guilty in June of attempting to leave Canada to join the terrorist group ISIS.

Ismael Habib is the first adult to be tried on charges of attempting to leave Canada to participate in terrorist activity — a section of the Anti-terrorism Act enacted by Stephen Harper's government in 2013.

In sentencing arguments Monday in Montreal, Crown prosecutor Lyne Décarie said Habib should get one year for trying to obtain a fake passport and eight for trying to leave the country to participate in terrorist activity.

Habib is facing up to 10 years in prison. Décarie argued the nine-year sentence was justified by the fact Habib buys into the ideology of the Islamic State and shows no remorse.

But defence lawyer Charles Montpetit said nine years is too long. Montpetit acknowledged that while his client believes in some radical ideas, there's no proof he buys into it completely or that he's a danger to Canadians.

He proposed, instead, a sentence of six years and six months for the charges.

Quebec Court Judge Serge Délisle will announce his decision Sept. 29. 

Arrest followed elaborate RCMP investigation

Police arrested Habib in February 2016, following an elaborate RCMP investigation that included a so-called Mr. Big operation.

During the ​trial, it was revealed that Habib told an undercover RCMP officer, who was posing as a crime boss peddling fake passports, that it was his "duty" to fight with ISIS in Syria.

Unbeknownst to Habib, his comments were videotaped.

Habib tried to explain away his confession during testimony. He told the court he wanted to go overseas to rejoin his wife and children, who had been living abroad without him. 

But Délisle rejected Habib's version of the facts, saying he had a history of deception. The judge noted that, at the time, Habib was looking online for other girlfriends and eventually moved in with another woman in Gatineau, Que.

With files from Kate McKenna and Sean Henry