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Canadian facing 2 terrorism-related charges denied bail in Ontario court

A Guelph, Ont., man charged with two terror-related offences under the Criminal Code has been denied bail.

Ikar Mao, of Guelph, Ont., was originally detained by authorities in Turkey for 3 months

Ikar Mao was charged with participating in the activity of a terrorist group and leaving Canada to participate in the activity of a terrorist group. This photo is from his public profile on Couchsurfing.com. (Ikar Mao/Couchsurfing.com)

A Guelph, Ont., man charged with two terror-related offences under the Criminal Code has been denied bail.

Ikar Mao, 22, appeared in Ontario Provincial Court in Brampton, Ont., Wednesday morning. Court heard evidence from witnesses, but because of a publication ban, the details cannot be reported.

In his decision Thursday, Justice G. Paul Renwick said he was not satisfied Mao's defence met the ground for release.  Mao will remain in custody until trial.

RCMP charged Mao on Dec. 6 with one count of participation in activity of a terrorist group and one count of leaving Canada to participate in activity of a terrorist group. 

The latter charge is a new addition to the Criminal Code, brought in in 2013, making it illegal for an individual to leave or attempt to leave the country with the intent of committing an act of terrorism. Since then, 12 people have been charged with travel-related terrorism offences: three have been convicted; four have outstanding warrants; two are awaiting trial; and one has had the charges withdrawn.

According to Public Safety Canada's 2018 report on the terrorism threat to Canada, a total of 55 people have been charged with terrorism offences under the Criminal Code since 2001. 

Detained in Turkey

Mao had been living under 19 strict court-imposed conditions for the previous month before being taken into custody by RCMP.

The charges followed an investigation by the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team in Ontario. It is not known what evidence led to the charges.

As CBC News has previously reported, Mao and his wife were detained in Turkey for three months after they were picked up by Turkish officials near the Syrian border in July.

According to Turkish records viewed by CBC News, they were held because of fears they were attempting to join ISIS.  

The couple denied those claims. They were released without charges and allowed to return to Canada in October. 

RCMP declined to comment on the case or say whether Mao's wife was also currently under investigation, citing the publication ban on the case. Public Safety declined comment to CBC News and deferred to the RCMP.

A trial date has not yet been set. Mao is expected back in court on Dec. 23.