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Via Rail Terror Plotters Sentenced To Life In Prison

TORONTO – Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier, the men convicted earlier this year on terrorism charges for plotting to derail a Via passenger train, were both sentenced to life in prison this week in a Toronto courtroom.

In passing sentence, Superior Court of Justice Judge Michael Code said the unusual gravity of terrorism offences means he had to send a strong enough message to deter others considering carrying out similar crimes. He said there was little evidence presented that mitigates the presumptive sentence of life in prison, reported CBC news.

“These are the most serious of terrorism offences, designed to result in indiscriminate killings of innocent human beings,” he said.

“I am satisfied that life imprisonment is the appropriate sentence,” the judge added, noting that the men would receive credit for time already spent in custody.

He said both men have not renounced their violent, jihadist ideology and have shown no remorse.

In March, both men were found guilty of conspiring to commit murder for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a terrorist group.

Esseghaier, of Montreal, was found guilty of all charges against him, while Jaser, of Toronto, was convicted of all but one charge. The jury also found the men guilty of six other terror-related charges between them.

The Crown was seeking life sentences for both men.

Jaser’s lawyer argued for a sentence of 5½ years in jail which would include three years for time already served. Esseghaier made no sentencing submission.

After the sentences were delivered, Jaser shook his head, closed his eyes at one point and held his face in one hand.

Esseghaier crossed his arms and leaned back in the prisoner’s box as Code read out his 53-page sentencing decision.

“The life sentence doesn’t have any meaning for me,” Esseghaier told the judge after his sentence was delivered, adding God was his “master.”

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