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Hospital worker found guilty of being part of a terror conspiracy 0

Tony Spears, Multimedia Journalist
Ottawa Sun

By Tony Spears, Ottawa Sun

Ottawa - 

He palled around with a terrorist until he became one himself.

Misbahuddin Ahmed will soon be severely punished for his 2010 flirtation with extremist beliefs after he was convicted by a jury Friday of conspiring to facilitate terrorist activity and of participating in a terror group.

His mother-in-law flung her arms around his weeping wife as the jury foreman read out the verdict.

“Mr. Ahmed is now a convicted terrorist,” Judge Colin McKinnon said gravely as he prepared to revoke Ahmed’s bail.

The 30-year-old former diagnostic imaging technologist at the Civic hospital faces “what will inevitably be a lengthy period of imprisonment.”

He faces a maximum sentence of 24 years, because the law says both sentences must be served concurrently.

“There was a strong case with respect to both counts,” Crown prosecutor Jason Wakely said outside the courthouse.

“We’re pleased with the result. It’s the correct result.”

If there was a sliver of hope for Ahmed, it was the jury’s decision to acquit him on the third and most serious count — possessing explosives to cause damage to people or property for a terror group — which can come with a life sentence.

The acquittal on that rap proved he had renounced his “misguided” beliefs before his arrest in August 2010, defence lawyer Mark Ertel told reporters.

“The jury obviously found that for a short period of time in his life he was misguided,” the solemn lawyer said.

“But the acquittal on the third count proves that they realized that if there was any danger to Canadians or anyone he put an end to it — an abrupt end to it — on Aug. 2, (2010) when he seized all of the materials that were in the other fellow’s possession.”

The brace of convictions is for the most part vindication of the RCMP’s fantastically elaborate Project Samossa, which concluded with much-ballyhooed busts on Aug. 25, 2010.

Three other men were arrested, though terror charges were never laid against one.

Dr. Khurram Syed Sher, a London, Ont. pathologist and Ahmed’s friend from adolescence, has already had his own trial on a single conspiracy count; a decision is expected next month.

The third man — Ahmed’s radical friend and the alleged ringleader, whose name remains under a publication ban — has yet to stand trial.

Ahmed had fallen in with his extremist consort near the start of 2010. They’d met in a Muslim prayer space and they decided they would help each other memorize the Koran.

Ahmed was seduced by his dangerous co-conspirator, whom he knew had learned the tools of the bomb-making trade in Afghanistan and who was actively raising money to supply Kurdish extremists with weapons, the court heard.

RCMP investigators began probing Ahmed in February 2010, planting hidden microphones in his home and tapping his phone and Internet.

At one point, the ringleader showed Ahmed the half-built remote detonator for an improvised explosive device — a partially-populated circuit board and a number of other electronic gizmos that alarmed RCMP to the point that they covertly broke into the man’s place and substituted the tools of destruction with harmless replicas.

“Did you try any of your ‘food’?” Ahmed asked in a June 2010 conversation, referring to his friend’s bomb training.

“Was it good though? Was it tasty?”

“In all honesty,” the friend replied, “you can say I loved it.”

Ahmed had also given $600 or $700 to his Koran buddy, testifying he meant for it to help poor Iranian Kurds.

But he knew full well that his friend was busily supplying his mujahideen connections with money for shoulder-mounted weapons and grenades — a fact that appears to have resonated with the jury.

Prison is a sad fate for an undeniably bright and personable man, whose plotting only served to bring about his own destruction.

When he followed the siren song of violent jihad, it deafened him to the tragedy he would wreak upon himself, and also upon the lives of his family.

His three young, beautiful girls will grow up without a father.

And his dalliance with evil makes a mockery of the unfailing support he has received from his family and that of his wife, who have supported him unfailingly throughout his ordeal.

“He’s a good man, a family man,” his lawyer said. “He doesn’t pose any danger to anyone.”

But he was dangerous — if only to those who loved him most.

His sentencing hearing begins in September.

tony.spears@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @ottawasuntonys


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