Toronto 18 ringleader who plotted to behead politicians seeks parole

Fahim Ahmad claims to have grown respectful of others beliefs’ during his time in jail.

BATH, Ont. – A ringleader of the so-called Toronto 18 who plotted to storm Parliament and behead politicians is now seeking parole.

Fahim Ahmad pleaded guilty in the middle of his 2010 trial to participating in a terrorist group, importing firearms and instructing his co-accused to carry out an activity for a terrorist group.

He was sentenced to 16 years in prison but received a credit of 8 1/2 years for the more than four years he spent in custody awaiting trial.

During trial, court heard Ahmad held training camps in the Ontario wilderness and told recruits the group would target legislative buildings in Ottawa, electrical grids and nuclear stations.

The group was rounded up in the summer of 2006 in an anti-terrorist operation that made headlines around the world.

Ahmad will face a panel from the Parole Board of Canada today at the Millhaven Institution, a maximum-security prison for men in Bath, Ont.

In handing down his sentence four years ago, the judge who oversaw the trial said he believed Ahmad had a chance at rehabilitation.

Ahmad wrote a letter to the court, claiming to have grown respectful of the beliefs of others during his time at Toronto’s Don Jail.

His wife and father-in-law also submitted letters describing him as having a more moderate and tolerant stance.

The group’s other ringleader, Zakaria Amara, was sentenced in 2010 to life in prison with no chance of parole until 2016.

He and Ahmad had a falling out and Amara formed a separate group in 2006, which managed to get further along in its plans to bomb the Toronto Stock Exchange, CSIS offices in Toronto and an eastern Ontario military base.

Of the 18 people charged, seven had their charges dropped or stayed, four were found guilty and seven pleaded guilty.

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