Three Canadians were charged with terrorism offences following a yearlong multi-force investigation codenamed Operation Samosa. Ottawa terror suspects Havi Mohammad Alizadeh and Misbahuddin Ahmed and a third man Khurram Syed Sher were accused of conspiring with others in Canada and elsewhere, including in Iran, Afghanistan, Dubai and Pakistan to "knowingly facilitate terrorist activity." The men were raising money to fund IED attacks in Canada as well as to finance similar strikes on Canadian troops in Afghanistan. The other three people identified in court documents as being involved in the conspiracy—James Lara, Rizgar Alizadeh and Zakaria Mamosta—have not been formally charged.
Hiva Alizadeh, who is reported to be an Iranian Kurd and the alleged ringleader, is charged with possessing explosives, financing terrorism, and making property available to terrorists. Misabhuddin Ahmed, an Ottawa X-Ray technician, is accused of a lesser charge of facilitating terrorism.
The third person charged is Khurram Sher of London, Ont., a Canadian-born physician and graduate of Montreal's McGill University, who visited Pakistan in 2006 during relief efforts following an earthquake in Pakistan-administered Kashmir or Azad Kashmir (Free Kashmir). News reports say Sher, who is formerly from Pakistan, was a contestant in the popular Canadian Idol reality show and performed "nifty" dance moves and a Michael Jackson moonwalk wearing a traditional Pakistani shalwar Kameez and pakul hat during an audition for the show in 2008.
The three men are alleged to be part of a terrorist group in Canada that has ties to international terrorism, said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) chief superintendent Serge Therriault. "The group posed a real threat to citizens of the National Capital Region and our national security," he added.
The new case is in many ways reminiscent of the Momin Khawaja prosecution, which resulted in Canada's first successful conviction under the Anti-Terrorism Act that was passed by the Canadian Parliament in 2001. Khawaja, a Pakistan-born Ottawa computer programmer was caught making detonators for a UK bomb plot linked to al-Qaida when police raided his home in 2004. In March 2009, Khawaja was sentenced to 10 years and six months on charges of financing and facilitating terrorism, including building a remote-controlled device that could trigger bombs.