Awso Peshdary appears briefly in court on terrorism-related charges
Ottawa man, 25, ordered not to communicate with possible witnesses, next court appearance Feb. 9
Awso Peshdary of Ottawa made his first appearance in court today, a day after he was arrested and charged with conspiracy to facilitate a terrorist act, among other counts.
The 25-year-old was arrested by RCMP on Tuesday.
In court on Wednesday, he was ordered to make his next appearance on Monday.
He was wearing a black fur-lined parka and sat throughout the proceeding with his hands in his pockets. Peshdary was expressionless until the end of his appearance, when he smiled at family members in the packed courtroom, according to the CBC's Laurie Fagan.
Peshdary was ordered by a justice of the peace not to communicate with 14 possible witnesses, including two men he was charged alongside, three other Ottawa men also facing terrorism-related charges, and members of a Muslim students association.
His defence lawyer, Richard Morris, had argued against the order, saying that the prosecution hadn't presented the evidence in disclosure to justify it.
Federal prosecutor Rod Sonley argued that evidence to justify the order will be presented at Peshdary's next appearance on Monday, and that in the meantime, the serious nature of the charges warrants the order.
Peshdary was charged along with John (Yahya) Maguire, 24, and Khadar Khalib, 23, for alleged offences including conspiracy to facilitate a terrorist act, knowingly participating in the activities of a terror group and counselling a person to knowingly participate in a terrorist activity.
The allegations have not been proven in court.
CBC News has learned that police believe Peshdary radicalized Maguire, who publicly threatened Canada in an ISIS video released late last year.
Police maintain that Peshdary led Maguire — a relatively new convert to Islam — to extremist materials, groomed him, and paid for his flight overseas.
Intending to join Maguire in Syria, Peshdary bought a ticket for himself, police said. However, he never properly applied for a passport and was forced to stay in Ottawa, where police maintain he went to work radicalizing others.
Police believe he persuaded Khalib, a student at Algonquin College and a friend of Maguire, to join ISIS. Khalib left Canada via Toronto's Pearson International Airport on March 29, 2014. His Facebook account has been a source of ISIS propaganda since his departure.
Police said that since becoming ensconced with ISIS, Maguire and Khalib, with the aid of Peshdary, have been actively reaching back into their tightly knit Ottawa circle of friends, trying to recruit others to join them.