The Forgiving Judiciary
"In my view the 12-year global sentence imposed on Mr. Ahmed for the two terrorism-related offences in respect of which he was convicted, reveals no reversible error, is entitled to deference, and in all the circumstances was a fit sentence."
"Further, there is no reason to interfere with the trial judge's disposition concerning Mr. Ahmed's parole eligibility."
"But for the fact that Mr. Ahmed has been convicted for terrorism offences rather than some other serious offence, he would likely be considered an appropriate candidate for a conditional [non]custodial] sentence."
Ontario Court of Appeal
|Misbahuddin Ahmed was convicted of two terrorism-related charges and sentenced to 12 years in prison. (CBC)|
But this man was in fact, convicted on charges of terrorism. And his sentence should reflect that incontrovertible fact.
Misbahuddin Ahmed, a father of three young children and a former diagnostic-imagining technician at a local hospital, had been arrested in 2010 along with two co-conspirators. They had been under investigation for a year by Canada's RCMP and CSIS in a surveillance operation called Project Samossa. Police charged the three men with plotting to build improvised explosive devices, but lacked evidence of a specific plan of action, let alone a target for their attack.
One of the two charged and found guilty had been abroad where he had been exposed to jihadist training. Kurdish born, Hiva Mohammad Alizadeh had obtained Canadian citizenship, despite which he travelled to Afghanistan where he took part in workshops assembling explosive devices. He eventually pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him by the Crown, and he was sentenced to 24 years in prison, as the ringleader. His intention was to "break their backs in their own country".
"You have effectively been convicted of treason", Justice Colin McKinnon, the presiding judge at the man's trial pronounced, adding that under the circumstances of a citizen of Canada plotting to mount a terrorist attack on fellow Canadians, he had "no hesitation" in sentencing him to the 24-year prison term that had been recommended by Crown and defence lawyers.
In the case of Misbahuddin Ahmed, Iranian born, who had established himself in Canada with a responsible medical career, who had decided to throw in his lot with Mr. Alizadeh, drawing in a third accused, Khurram Sher, (who had been acquitted of charges), his 12-year sentence had been under appeal. Federal prosecutors had sought to increase the sentence to 20 years, while Ahmed's appeal layers wished the sentence to be reduced to five-to-eight years.
The judicial disagreement was settled when the Ontario Court of Appeal found the sentencing Justice, Ontario Superior Court Justice Colin McKinnon, had not erred in assessing the serious nature of Ahmed's offence. His 12-year-sentence remains in effect. Justice McKinnon had expressed his opinion that he was convinced the man regretted his terrorist affiliation and wish to exact vengeance in Canada, as a Muslim-Canadian.
Justice McKinnon's compassionate understanding of a successful young Canadian Muslim feeling violently reproachful against fellow Canadians, on a spur-of-the-moment impulse that last a year, does him justice as a typical left-leaning Liberal prepared to forgive and forget. Had Canadian intelligence and policing agencies not been alerted, the conspirators could very well have exacted the kind of bloody revenge that Islamists are so well noted for.