Canadian Terror Suspect Accused of Plan to Behead Canadian PM

Reuters is reporting that Steven Chand, one of the Canadian terror suspects, is accused of planning to behead Canadian PM Stephen Harper.

BRAMPTON, Ontario (Reuters) – One of 17 men accused of plotting bombings in major Canadian cities and of training militants also faces an allegation that he sought to behead Prime Minister Stephen Harper, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

Steven Chand, 25, was among 15 members of the alleged terrorist ring who appeared in a heavily guarded courtroom north of Toronto to set dates for bail hearings.

The Muslim men, five of them under the age of 18, were arrested on Friday in Canada’s largest counterterrorism operation, and police said more arrests are possible.

Chand’s lawyer, Gary Batasar, said his client faced several serious charges and was concerned that intense media interest in the details of the case in Canada and the United States could jeopardize Chand’s chances of a fair trial.

Allegations include plans for the “storming and bombing of various buildings,” Batasar told reporters.

“There’s an allegation apparently that my client personally indicated that he wanted to behead the prime minister of Canada,” Batasar said.

“It’s a very serious allegation — he’s said nothing about that. My clients retains the right to silence.”

That’s a pretty shocking charge, but since beheading is the one of the terrorists’ preferred method of killing in the Middle East, particularly by Abu Musab al Zarqawi, it isn’t hard to believe.

The AP is reporting the same but with a few more details:

At least one member of a group of terror suspects plotted to storm Canada’s parliament and behead officials, including the prime minister, if Muslim prisoners in Canada and Afghanistan were not released, according to charges made public Tuesday.

Authorities also alleged that Steven Vikash Chand plotted to take over media outlets such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

The AP also reports about a statement by a Canadian Muslim cleric who has come out against one of the suspects:

A Muslim leader who knew the oldest suspect, 43-year-old Qayyum Abdul Jamal, told The Associated Press that his sermons at a local mosque were “filled with hate” against Canada.

Maybe other Muslim clerics will follow suit and speak out about what these suspects were up to.

Update: The Washington Post has more details on the charges.

Update II: CNN reports that Steven Chand’s attorney complained about the security surrounding his client:

Batasar and other defense lawyers complained Tuesday in court that they have not been allowed to meet privately with their clients, who they say are under constant watch by armed guards. He called the tight security unnecessary and unprecedented.

This is not Guantanamo, this is Toronto, Canada,” Batasar said.

Is this guy for real?

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