Sun, Jun 15, 2008 - Page 7 News List

Terrorism informant ‘received’ C$300,000

AP , BRAMPTON, ONTARIO

The star witness in the prosecution of an alleged Canadian terrorism cell told a court on Friday that he was paid C$300,000 (US$292,000) to infiltrate the increasingly fractious group and become a police informant.

Mubin Shaikh that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police initially offered him C$70,000. He said he “wasn’t in it for the money,” but he negotiated for C$77,000 because the amount had religious significance to him.

Shaikh said he asked police for more money after news spread around the world two summers ago of the 17 people arrested for allegedly taking part in a plot to take hostages in parliament, set off bombs in Toronto and Ottawa, and possibly behead Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Shaikh told prosecuting lawyer John Neander that he wasn’t dissatisfied with the initial deal, but that he had reflected on the magnitude of what he had become involved in.

“This has just morphed into this huge thing,” Shaikh, 32, a married father, explained. “It’s lost on a lot of people that my life as it was in the community … in a single day changed.”

On his third straight day on the witness stand of the first suspect to go to trial, Shaikh also told the Ontario Superior Court that mistrust between two of the alleged leaders led to a split in the Toronto-area group in the weeks before police arrested the suspects.

Jurors had previously heard during the trial how the alleged leader of the group boasted about importing crates of high-powered weapons that never materialized and talked about attacking the parliament buildings and beheading politicians.

Shaikh testified that another man also believed to be a leader of the group felt the first man was “exaggerating, blatantly lying about things.”

The second man viewed the first as a weakling whose loss to the cause was no big deal, Shaikh said.

“He’s a weak link. Screw him, we don’t need him,” Shaikh quoted the man as saying.

Additionally, the man on trial has been charged as a youth offender because he was 17 at the time of the alleged offenses and as such cannot be identified. He is now 20 years old.

During a wiretapped conversation played for the court on Friday, the accused expressed interest to Shaikh about going to fight in Iraq against the US-led coalition, but seemed to have had little idea of the logistics in even getting there.

Jurors also were showed an al-Qaeda propaganda video of Osama bin Laden praising those responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the US, as well as attacks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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