REFILE-UPDATE 3-Canada train plot suspects in court; to fight charges

Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:10pm EDT
 
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* U.S. officials say target was Toronto-New York express

* Both suspects to return for bail hearings

* Iran reacts angrily to reported links to case

By Allison Martell and Randall Palmer

TORONTO/MONTREAL, April 23 (Reuters) - Two men charged with an alleged al Qaeda-backed plot to derail a Canadian passenger train made their first court appearances on Tuesday, and the lawyer for one said his client would fight the charges vigorously.

Raed Jaser, 35, of Toronto and Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, of Montreal face charges that include conspiring with each other "to murder unknown persons ... for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group."

They were arrested on Monday in separate raids after what police said was a joint Canada-U.S. investigation that started in the middle of last year after a tip from a member of the Muslim community.

Officers detained Jaser at his home, a semi-detached house in a north Toronto neighborhood, and arrested Esseghaier at a McDonald's restaurant at Montreal's main train station.   Continued...