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Mississauga, October 2 (CINEWS): It was inevitable that three members of the “Toronto 18” terror cell had their citizenship revoked last week.
It was fortuitous for the Conservatives in the midst of an election campaign to be able to make this announcement. It may be recalled that this is the terror cell that plotted to detonate bombs in downtown Toronto and cause mass destruction and death.
The move by the federal government comes under Bill C-24, dubbed the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, passed last May, and essentially paves the way for the men to be deported from Canada.
One of the men, Zakaria Amara, 30, of Meadowvale, headed the terror group and spearheaded the plot that was foiled by the RCMP in 2006. He is serving a life sentence in a Quebec prison.
He, along with Saad Khalid, 29, of Erin Mills, and Asad Ansari, 31, of Churchill Meadows, were among five men linked to terrorism activity, who were told via letter recently they were being revoked of their citizenship.
Khalid, a native of Saudi Arabia, pleaded guilty to intending to cause an explosion that was likely to cause serious bodily harm, death or damage to property and is serving a 20-year sentence, while Ansari, originally from Pakistan, is already a free man, as his 6 1/2-year prison term amounted to time served.
Ansari was convicted of knowingly contributing to, directly or indirectly, a terrorist group for the purpose of enhancing the ability of the group to carry out an act of terror.
Bill C-24 allows the government to strip someone of their citizenship for serious acts against Canada, providing that person holds citizenship in another country and is convicted of offences related to terrorism or treason.
The men can and will all probability appeal the revocation decisions through the courts.
An extensive RCMP investigation culminated in the group’s take down in 2006 after a police agent infiltrated the group.
In total, 18 people were arrested. Four were convicted and seven others, pleaded guilty.
NDP leader Tom Mulcair has vowed to repeal Bill C-24.