"Toronto 18" man gets 14 years for planned attacks

Thu Sep 3, 2009 5:16pm EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - A Canadian man who pleaded guilty to plotting to bomb major landmarks in Toronto was sentenced to 14 years in jail on Thursday, Canada's Public Prosecution Service said in a statement.

Saad Khalid, one of a group dubbed the "Toronto 18", whose members were arrested in a police sting in 2006, pleaded guilty in May to intending to cause an explosion likely to cause serious bodily harm or death.

Prosecutors say the group planned to bomb targets such as the Toronto Stock Exchange, the Toronto office of Canada's spy agency, and a military base, with the goal of forcing Canada to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

Fourteen men and four youths were originally charged.

In a court in Brampton, just outside of Toronto, Justice Bruce Durno said Khalid's punishment had to show society's revulsion to "vile" terrorist crimes, according the Globe and Mail newspaper.

Justice Durno gave Khalid credit for seven years for the time he spent in pretrial custody.

Khalid will be the first of the group to go to prison. One member -- a youth at the time of his arrest but now 21 -- was found guilty last year and sentenced to 2-1/2 years, but was released due to time already served.

Charges against seven have been stayed. Trials for the remaining nine are set to begin next year.

Brian Saunders, Canada's director of public prosecutions, said prosecutors will examine Khalid's sentence, and have 30 days to decide whether to appeal it.

(Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Peter Galloway)

<p>Saad Khalid is seen in this undated photo. REUTERS/Stringer</p>