An Ontario jury Wednesday convicted two men of participating in a jihadist plot targeting Canada. The pair, Steven Chand, 29, and Asad Ansari, 25, were the final persons to go on trial in the "Toronto 18" case in which al Qaeda-inspired terrorists plotted to bomb targets including a military base, the Canadian Stock Exchange and the Toronto offices of Canada's spy agency.
Canadian prosecutors said the pair attended a terrorist training camp in December 2005 in which attendees received firearms training. Chand was alleged to have accompanied another conspirator on a February 2006 reconnaissance trip in search of a safe house to be used for additional training, and introduced the co-conspirator to a criminal associate in the hope he could help finance the plot.
Defense attorneys claimed Chand thought the jihadist camp was about winter survival tactics. Ansari's lawyer tried to minimize the significance of the various jihadist texts, videos and images found on his laptop, claiming that he knew nothing about the true nature of the camp and that their client was doing nothing more than exercising his right to worship.