Toronto 18 suspect pleads guilty during terror trial
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Monday, May 10, 2010 11:44AM EDT
The purported ringleader of a Toronto-based group bent on terrorizing the city has pleaded guilty in the middle of his trial.
Fahim Ahmad, 25, pleaded guilty to terrorism charges last week, Justice Fletcher Dawson told the jury Monday.
"You look out here this morning, members of the jury, you'll see Mr. Ahmad is no longer with us," said Dawson.
Ahmad was being tried alongside terror suspects Steven Chand and Asad Ansari in the last of the trials for members of the so-called Toronto 18 terror group.
The trial for Chand and Ansari continues today.
Dawson instructed the jury by saying that Ahmad's plea has "no impact on the guilt or innocence of the two men who remain on trial."
During the trial, Ahmad was presented as the man who led the terror cell, holding two training camps for recruits.
The jury heard that Ahmad planned to attack Parliament, nuclear stations and Ontario's electrical grids.
The jury heard intercepted recordings where Ahmad was heard suggesting a trip to Parliament to "cut off some heads" and "kill everybody."
They also showed a video of a speech Ahmad gave at one of the training camps, urging recruits to make sacrifices in order to help defeat Western civilization. Though the video was shot in the dark, Ahmad's face can be seen through the light of a flashlight as he crouched under a white tarp in the snow during a rainfall.
"(It) doesn't matter what trials you face, it doesn't matter what comes your way," Ahmad says in the video. "Our mission's greater. Whether we get arrested, whether we (get) killed, we get tortured, our mission's greater than just individuals."
Mubin Shaikh, a police informant, told authorities that the youngest participant in the camp was 14 years old. He also said that Ahmad voiced his support for al Qaeda even though there was no official association between the two groups.
The video also shows Shaikh taking part in the training, showing participants wearing military garb how to use 9-mm handguns. Shaikh identified the background music as having a jihad theme, with lyrics that say "kill the infidel."
Shaikh told officials that after Ahmad's speech, he was tasked with asking participants how they planned to further the cause when they got home. One man offered to help recruit people, Ansari allegedly offered his computer expertise and the 14-year-old offered to donate his allowance money.
Ahmad, Ansari and Chand are among 18 men and youth arrested and charged with terrorism offences after a police raid in 2006.
The men were charged with participating in a terrorist group though Ahmad was also charged with a weapons offence and with instructing people to carry out terrorist activities.
Chand faces an additional charge of counseling to commit fraud over $5,000 for the benefit of a terrorist group.