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Toronto Terror Suspects in Court


Heavy security was in place as 15 of the 17 Muslim suspects in an alleged plot to bomb Canada's parliament and murder Prime Minister Stephen Harper were brought to court on Tuesday.

Dramatic allegations of plots to bomb Canada's parliament and behead its prime minister were leveled against a group of alleged Muslim terrorists when they made their appearance in a Canadian courtroom Tuesday.

Security was heavy as 15 of the 17 suspects arrested in a police raid Friday were brought to a Brampton, Ontario courtroom where they faced a number of terror-related charges.

Prosecutors accuse the men of attempting to buy three tons of amonium nitrate intended to make explosives. The suspects allegedly planned to bomb Canadian landmarks, storm parliament, take politicians hostage, and make several demands, including the withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan, and the release of Muslim prisoners.

The suspects also are accused of planning to storm the offices of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to air their demands.

Prosecutors say that, if the demands were not met, the plotters were determined to execute the politicians. One of the suspects, 25-year-old Steven Vikash Chand, boasted he would kill Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Chand's lawyer, Gary Batasar, told reporters there is an allegation that his client personally wanted to behead the prime minister of Canada. But Batasar said there is no basis for the allegation.

Police say all the suspects are Canadian citizens or Canadian residents. Seven of them worshiped at the same mosque. Canadian police say they are investigating the possible link between the suspects and Islamic terror cells in several countries, including the United States.

Batasar accused Canadian and American politicians and the media of stirring up a climate of fear.

Defense lawyers say they were not allowed to meet privately with their clients, all of whom are in isolation and under 24-hour surveillance. Several lawyers said unless these conditions change, they will challenge this form of detention in court next week.

News of the arrests and alleged plots has shaken Canadians and led to some attacks on Muslim places of worship.

Tariq Abdelhaleen, the father of one of the suspects, told reporters his biggest concern was the behavior of the media. He said the media have already found his son guilty.

"We feel threatened by the media and all this cameras and … uncalled for," said Tariq Abdelhaleen.

Police officials say their investigation into the alleged bomb plots is ongoing and more arrests are expected.

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