Canadian given 10-year sentence for UK bomb plot

Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:55pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A Canadian man was sentenced to 10-1/2 years in jail on Thursday for his involvement with a group that planned to bomb nightclubs, trains and a shopping center in Britain.

Software engineer Momin Khawaja, 29, was convicted last October of working with a British gang that he knew was involved in terrorist activity.

"This is not a case of a vulnerable young man being beguiled or lured into a criminal act . . . Momin Khawaja was a willing participant," Ontario Superior Court Judge Douglas Rutherford said at the sentencing.

Khawaja, who remained impassive through the court proceedings, was the first person to be convicted under tough anti-terror laws brought in after the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

British police had named Khawaja as co-conspirator in the case of five men who were jailed for life in 2007 for the thwarted plan to set off the bombs.

Khawaja was found guilty in October of working with the British group, and helping and financing it.

But he was found not guilty of knowing that explosives and a remote detonating device that he worked on would be used in the planned attacks. He denied all the charges.

The five years Khawaja has already spent in custody will not count toward the sentence, and Khawaja must serve another five years and three months before he is eligible for parole.   Continued...

<p>Momin Khawaja (L) is transported from the Ottawa courthouse following a day of hearings, July 22, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>