Picture of Mohamed Hersi, taken by himself at Pearson International Airport and posted to his Facebook account March 29, 2011. Moments later he was arrested by RCMP officers
A Toronto man facing terrorism charges after allegedly planning to join a Somali group linked to Al Qaeda was granted bail on Friday.Mohamed Hassan Hersi, 25, will remain under 24-hour house arrest except for medical emergencies and lawyer meetings.Hersi must be with one of his four sureties at all times in a release plan approved by Justice of the Peace Hilda Weiss in a Brampton courtroom.
Bail of $200,000 with no deposit was ordered. Hersi must not to have any Internet access, a cell phone or a smart phone, but can use a home landline.He can’t possess any weapons or ammunition, and must remain in Ontario and not apply for a passport.The reasons for granting bail remain under a publication ban as is all evidence presented during a two-day special bail hearing held earlier this month.“It was a well-reasoned and thought out decision and we are obviously very pleased,” Hersi’s lawyer, Anser Farooq, said outside the courtroom.
“I hope the Crown re-evaluates its case and decides whether this is a prosecution worth pursuing...”
Federal Crown attorney Iona Jaffe said she accepts the court’s decision.Hersi was arrested at Toronto’s Pearson Airport last month as he was about to board a jet to Cairo via London. He had a one-way ticket, police said.Police allege Hersi planned to join the Somali militant group Al Shabaab, which is trying to overthrow Somalia’s government. Al Shabaab has been designated as a terrorist group in the U.S. and Canada.His lawyer previously told reporters that his client never wanted to join the group. He claimed he was set up by a man who tried to befriend him.Police suspect several young Canadians have gone to Somalia to join the group in recent years.Hersi is a Canadian citizen. He was traveling alone when arrested, police said.He was charged under Canada’s anti-terrorism law with attempting to participate in terrorist activity and with providing counsel to a person to participate in a terrorist activity.Hersi’s arrest came following a six-month investigation dubbed “Project Severe.”
Relatives earlier told the Star that Hersi planned to study Arabic for several months in Egypt.
Hersi was born in Somalia but moved to Canada as a child.He graduated from the University of Toronto with a science degree in 2009 but had been working as a security guard, relatives said.
Hersi’s arrest sparked fears within the local Somali community that Al Shabaab, known as an Islamic youth militia, is still recruiting young men. In 2009, six Somali-Canadian men disappeared from the Toronto area and are believed to have joined the group. One died in battle about a year ago.
Because Al Shabaab is a listed terrorist group within the authority of law in Canada, any participation in that group constitutes an offence under Canadian law.
Hersi’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 26. toronto star
Somali sentenced for lying about terrorism links
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A federal judge sentenced a Somali man to 10 years in prison for failing to acknowledge ties to two global terrorist groups after he was arrested near the Texas-Mexico border in 2008, the U.S. Justice Department said Thursday night.
Ahmed Muhammed Dhakane, 25, prompted the Department of Homeland Security to issue an alert in May 2010 asking Houston-area authorities to be on the lookout for a suspected member of al-Shabaabp, an al-Qaida ally based in Somalia. That warning came when two new charges of lying on a U.S. asylum application were filed against Dhakane, who had been arrested on immigration charges in Brownsville, across the Rio Grande from Matamoros, Mexico, in March 2008.
Dhakane pleaded guilty on Nov. 2 to two counts of lying on his asylum application, and the Justice Department said in a statement that he failed to acknowledge he had been a member of, or associated with, al-Barakat and Al-Ittihad Al-Islami, from prior to Sept. 11, 2001, until January 2003.
Al-Barakat is a financial transfer network; Al-Ittihad al-Islami, or the Islamic Union, wants to impose Islamic law in Somalia. Both are on the U.S. Treasury Department's list of global terrorist groups with links to al-Qaida, according to the indictment against Dhakane.
U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez in San Antonio sentenced Dhakane to 10 years behind bars, and ordered that he be placed under supervised release for three years after completing his prison term.
The Justice Department said Dhakane also provided false information concerning his entry into the United States when he claimed he and his wife traveled from Somalia to Mexico via Russia, Cuba, Costa Rica and Guatemala. Instead, the statement said, from June 2006 until March 2008, Dhakane resided in Brazil where he participated in — and later ran — a large-scale human smuggling enterprise
Dhakane also lied about his traveling partner, a minor he claimed was his wife. The Justice Department said she was actually a smuggling client, that the pair were never married, and that Dhakane repeatedly raped and eventually impregnated her prior to traveling to the U.S. He also threatened to have her killed if she told authorities he had raped her, and that they were never married, according to the statement.
Citing a Justice Department memo and other documents it obtained, the San Antonio News-Express reported in March that federal officials believed Dhakane helped "violent jihadists" from East Africa sneak through Mexico and into Texas.
Despite his pleading guilty to making false statements while under oath in the immigration proceedings, Dhakane has denied that he smuggled potential terrorists into the U.S., and also says he never helped groups accused of funding terrorism.