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{UAH} Toronto 18 terror leader denied parole after telling psychologist he wants to fight ISIL

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Toronto 18 terror leader denied parole after telling psychologist he wants to fight ISIL

Court sketch of Fahim Ahmad from the trial of the Toronto 18 in 2010.
Alex Tavshunsky / Postmedia NewsCourt sketch of Fahim Ahmad from the trial of the Toronto 18 in 2010.

TORONTO — The ringleader of the Toronto 18 terrorist group told a psychologist he wanted to fight ISIL, the Parole Board of Canada said Tuesday in a written decision denying his bid for release.

In its ruling, the parole board told Fahim Ahmad, 32, the comment showed "that you are still very involved in the same mindset as you were when this began, noting simply that you have just changed sides."

While Ahmad later tried to "minimize" his statement, saying he only meant he wanted to denounce and expose ISIL and others who "misstate Islam for political reasons," the parole board was not convinced.

"When the board put to you that a reasonable person reading the use of the word 'fight' by a convicted terrorist in the context of Islamic terrorism, and in the context of an explanation of his view of his own change on the point of terrorism, would presume the meaning of armed struggle, you had no real response," it said.

Ahmad also continued to blame a confidential RCMP informant who infiltrated his Toronto-based terrorist group for influencing his decision to target Canadian Forces bases, according to the decision.

In addition, he provided different answers to a psychologist and to the board about the aim of his terrorist group, telling one they were training to fight overseas and the other they wanted to use terror to prompt Canada to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.

"The minimization, equivocation and continued attempts to deceive and manipulate do not allow the board to conclude that there has been any, let alone sufficient, change in your risk in the last year," the panel wrote.

Ahmad was arrested in 2006 following a major police counter-terrorism investigation into a plot to stage al-Qaida-style bomb and firearm attacks in southern Ontario. The group had trained at a camp north of Toronto.

He pleaded guilty to three terrorism offences in 2010. Justice Fletcher Dawson said he was the "driving force" behind recruitment and indoctrination for the group.

He is scheduled for release in January 2018.

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