HE once moonwalked during an audition for Canadian Idol in Montreal in 2008, telling judges that he was from Pakistan and was a fan of hockey, music and acting. While his dancing was considered good, his singing – an off-tune rendition of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” – was judged bad.
But now Dr. Khurram Syed Sher, 31, of London and a medical graduate from Montreal’s McGill University, is to be judged on a terrorism charge in an Ottawa courtroom more than three years after he and two others were arrested in August 2010 as part of an alleged Ottawa terror cell that was involved in constructing improvised explosive devices – the kind used to kill soldiers in Afghanistan – and that they had collected schematics, videos, books, and other material used to build the bombs.
Police said at the time that they also seized “terrorist literature” and more than 50 electrical circuit boards that would have been used to detonate the devices from a distance.
The names of two others are now subject to a publication ban as they will be tried by a jury in April.
Back in 2010, the RCMP and CSIS said they had monitored the group for a year as part of Project Samosa.
“This group posed a real and serious threat to the citizens of Canada’s national capital region,” Supt. Serge Therriault, head of criminal operations for RCMP’s A Division, told a news conference in Ottawa.
He said investigators decided to arrest them now to prevent them from sending money to their alleged international allies abroad to purchase weapons and other material that would have been used against Canadian and coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Police alleged that three other individuals were also involved in the conspiracy to knowingly facilitate terrorist activities as were other persons at home and “in Iran, Afghanistan, Dubai and Pakistan.”
This week, the Globe and Mail reported that an affidavit filed by the RCMP in the Federal Court of Canada states that some of the information came from the FBI and Britain’s London Metropolitan Police. The federal government applied under the Canada Evidence Act to blank out portions of thousands of documents disclosed to defence counsel on the argument that revealing that information would be injurious to national security, international relations or national defence.