Bail for Toronto man arrested on terrorism charges

Posted on 30/04/2011

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A Toronto man facing terrorism charges after allegedly planning to join a Somali group linked to Al Qaeda was granted bail on Friday.

Mohamed Hassan Hersi, 25, will remain under 24-hour house arrest except for medical emergencies and lawyer meetings.

Hersi must be with one of his four sureties at all times in a release plan approved by Justice of the Peace Hilda Weiss in a Brampton courtroom.

Bail of $200,000 with no deposit was ordered. Hersi must not to have any Internet access, a cell phone or a smart phone, but can use a home landline.

He can’t possess any weapons or ammunition, and must remain in Ontario and not apply for a passport.

The reasons for granting bail remain under a publication ban as is all evidence presented during a two-day special bail hearing held earlier this month.

“It was a well-reasoned and thought out decision and we are obviously very pleased,” Hersi’s lawyer, Anser Farooq, said outside the courtroom.

“I hope the Crown re-evaluates its case and decides whether this is a prosecution worth pursuing…”

Federal Crown attorney Iona Jaffe said she accepts the court’s decision.

Hersi was arrested at Toronto’s Pearson Airport last month as he was about to board a jet to Cairo via London. He had a one-way ticket, police said.

Police allege Hersi planned to join the Somali militant group Al Shabaab, which is trying to overthrow Somalia’s government. Al Shabaab has been designated as a terrorist group in the U.S. and Canada.

His lawyer previously told reporters that his client never wanted to join the group. He claimed he was set up by a man who tried to befriend him.

Police suspect several young Canadians have gone to Somalia to join the group in recent years.

Hersi is a Canadian citizen. He was traveling alone when arrested, police said.

He was charged under Canada’s anti-terrorism law with attempting to participate in terrorist activity and with providing counsel to a person to participate in a terrorist activity.

Hersi’s arrest came following a six-month investigation dubbed “Project Severe.”

Relatives earlier told the Star that Hersi planned to study Arabic for several months in Egypt.

Hersi was born in Somalia but moved to Canada as a child.

He graduated from the University of Toronto with a science degree in 2009 but had been working as a security guard, relatives said.

Hersi’s arrest sparked fears within the local Somali community that Al Shabaab, known as an Islamic youth militia, is still recruiting young men. In 2009, six Somali-Canadian men disappeared from the Toronto area and are believed to have joined the group. One died in battle about a year ago.

Because Al Shabaab is a listed terrorist group within the authority of law in Canada, any participation in that group constitutes an offence under Canadian law.

Hersi’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 26

Bob Mitchell: Friday, April 29, 2011

Source: thestar.com

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