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Al-Qaeda propagandist gets life

No parole for Montreal man for 10 years, judge rules

Graeme Hamilton, National Post

A Moroccan man who spread al-Qaeda propaganda from his Quebec apartment and dreamed of blowing himself up in an overseas terrorist attack was sentenced to life in prison yesterday, matching the stiffest penalty yet under Canada's anti-terrorism law.

Quebec Court Judge Claude Leblond concluded that Said Namouh, 37, had displayed no remorse for his actions and remains a danger to people in Canada and abroad. He described Namouh as a tireless propagandist for the terrorist Global Islamic Media Front and an enthusiastic participant in a suicide attack to be carried out at an undisclosed location in Europe.

During a sentencing hearing last November, Namouh said he opposed the use of violence, but Mr. Leblond dismissed his testimony as lacking any credibility.

"Conspiring to commit a terrorist bomb attack with as a foreseeable consequence the deaths of many innocent people and significant material damage is a very serious crime that goes against the most fundamental values of our society," Judge Leblond wrote in his decision on sentence. Namouh's "determination and enthusiasm" showed that he was "a very dangerous individual" up to his arrest in September 2007.

"The accused does not have the excuse of youth. There is no indication of possible rehabilitation. He remains dangerous. He must be removed from society," the judge said.

He ordered that Namouh be ineligible for parole for 10 years, beginning from the date of his arrest.

Crown prosecutor Dominique Dudemaine said Namouh's plot, planned with conspirators in Europe, was thwarted just in time. "When he was arrested ... he was in the process of obtaining his visa to leave the country," he said.

He said the sentence shows that Canada is not a safe haven for those plotting terrorist attacks abroad.

Namouh married a Quebec woman and moved from Morocco to the small town of Maskinonge, northeast of Montreal, in 2003. After they divorced in 2006, he moved to nearby Trois-Rivieres, where he began spending long hours on password-protected jihadi websites. "Terrorism is in our blood, and with it we will drown the unjust," he said in one Internet chat. In another, shortly before his arrest, he said his dream was to die a martyr and have his son, who is now 10 and lives in Morocco, grow up to be a mujahedeen.

The sentence is the same given last month to Zakaria Amara, the ringleader of a plot to blow up landmarks in the Toronto area. Another conspirator in that plot, Saad Gaya, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Momin Khawaja of Ottawa, who participated in a British terrorist plot and was the first person convicted under anti-terrorism legislation introduced after the Sept. 11 attacks, was sentenced to 10½ years on top of five years in custody before his conviction.

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