Canadian sentenced to 10 years for plan to join militant group

Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:48pm EDT
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By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - A Canadian provincial court on Thursday imposed a 10-year prison term - the maximum available - on a man convicted of attempting to join a militant group abroad.

Mohamed Hassan Hersi, 28, was convicted in late May on charges of attempting to participate in the activities of a terrorist group, and for providing counsel to a person to participate in terrorist activity.

He was sentenced in a Toronto-area court to two consecutive five-year terms of imprisonment, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada said in a statement. The total 10-year sentence is the maximum allowed for the charges.

A lawyer for Hersi did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment on the sentence.

Hersi was initially arrested in 2011 just before he was about to board a plane bound for North Africa. Prosecutors alleged he was headed to Somalia to join the militant al Shabaab Islamist group.

The conviction comes as Canada wrestles with several cases of radicalized Canadians plotting attacks at home or heading overseas to join militant groups.

Just last month, a British Columbia man was charged under a new Canadian law that specifically targets those who travel for terrorist purposes.

Hasibullah Yusufzai, 25, of Burnaby, British Columbia, was charged with leaving the country "for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group."   Continued...