An Islamic extremist from small town Quebec who schemed to set off bombs abroad has received the toughest sentence possible for a terrorist convicted under Canadian law.
Saïd Namouh, 37, who plotted over the Internet from his basement apartment in Maskinongé, Que., was handed a life sentence, with no chance of parole for 10 years.
Unlike three other Canadians recently convicted for terrorism, Mr. Namouh never got his hands on bomb-making material and took few concrete steps toward carrying out his plot.
But Judge Claude Leblond said Mr. Namouh is still extremely dangerous and, unlike the other terrorists convicted in Canada, he showed no remorse and no prospect of rehabilitation.
"The evidence shows his enthusiasm to participate in the project," Judge Leblond said. "In fact, he was probably destined to be the suicide bomber."
The Maskinongé terrorist was convicted in October on four charges of taking part in terrorist activities, including the bomb plot.
The group had a long list of potential targets in Europe, particularly in Germany and Austria.
Mr. Namouh, a member of the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF),was also found guilty of trying to extort Germany and Austria into withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and other propaganda activities.
In internet jihad circles, the GIMF is known as one of the oldest and most far-reaching networks. Writing under the pseudonym "Ashraf," Mr. Namouh submitted 1,075 postings to a GIMF site.
Mr. Namouh's lawyer, René Duval, described the sentence as "extremely severe," given a co-conspirator in Austria who was considered the ring leader served only a few years in jail.
One member of the so-called "Toronto 18" has also received a life sentence, with no chance of parole for 10 years. Mr. Duval argued other Canadian plotters bought bomb-making supplies and had detailed plans while Mr. Namouh's plot consisted of Internet chatter.
Judge Leblond said two others who have received lighter sentences in Canada expressed regret and were often dupes manipulated into playing small parts in plots.
Mr. Namouh was a driving force behind his scheme, the judge said.
Crown prosecutor Dominique Dudemaine argued Mr. Namouh's plot was far more advanced than idle chatter.
"He was about to board the plane, when he was arrested, he was in the process of obtaining the visa to leave the country. He was ready to work," Mr. Dudemaine said.
Mr. Namouh engaged in hundreds of online conversations and produced videos praising extremist attacks. He distributed ransom demands for the kidnappers of a British journalist in Gaza.
In a series of chats in August, 2007, Mr. Namouh planned a trip to Egypt for a mission involving a bomb attack in Europe. In one brief online comment, he proclaimed his expertise in explosives. His handler and alleged co-conspirator sent him $800, suggesting he buy a gun.
At his sentencing hearing, Mr. Namouh said he knew nothing about guns and explosives and never had violent intent. The judge said Mr. Namouh has "no credibility."
Mr. Namouh came to Canada from Morocco shortly after marrying a Quebec woman in 2002. He took odd jobs including one in a pork processing plant, and was chronically short of cash. The couple split a short time later.
Mr. Namouh, who was given credit for time served awaiting trial since his arrest in 2007, is also facing a deportation order.