OTTAWA, CANADA: A 29-year-old Canadian man on Monday became the first to be found guilty at trial under a law banning people from trying to leave Canada to commit a terrorist act.
Ismael Habib, the son of an Afghan father and a Canadian mother, had sought to reach Syria to join the Islamic State group. He came under police investigation in 2015 and was arrested last year.
His wife and two young children were reportedly living in the war-torn nation.
Habib did not have a valid passport because it had been revoked after a failed 2012 attempt to reach Syria in which he was detained in Turkey and deported to Canada. It was revealed at trial that Habib met a man who turned out to be an undercover policeman in an effort to obtain a fake passport.
The defense argued that police tricked him into confessing that he wanted to travel overseas to join IS. Prosecutor Lyne Decarie said she was ‘satisfied’ with the verdict, while defense attorney Charles Monpetit said it was “a bit of a shock.”
Sentencing arguments are scheduled for August. Habib faces up to 10 years in prison under Canada’s terrorism act, which enables authorities to bring charges against anyone suspected of participating in the activity of a terrorist group.
It also applies to cases in which a person “leaves or attempts to leave Canada.” In the past three years, authorities have detained several Canadians, including minors, for attempting to join IS.