BRAMPTON, Ont. - A terrorist just two months away from the start of his trial pleaded guilty Wednesday to helping train and indoctrinate young recruits and was set to walk free given the time he's already served behind bars.
Amin Durrani's surprise guilty plea of participating in a terrorist group marks the fifth guilty plea and the sixth conviction in the so-called Toronto 18 case, as a youth was earlier found guilty at trial.
The men and youths who would become known as the Toronto 18 were arrested in June 2006 and charged with terrorist offences. At the heart of the cases before the court was two different groups and two different conspiracies.
One group plotted to set off three one-tonne truck bombs at CSIS offices in Toronto and the Toronto Stock Exchange, as well as at an Ontario military base, the courts have heard. The leader of that plot, Zakaria Amara, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life this week, though he could seek parole in 2016.
Others, including Durrani, were charged with organizing or participating in terrorist training.
Durrani, 23, was handed a 7 1/2-year sentence, but with the standard two-for-one credit for the more than 3 1/2 years he has spent in prison since his arrest Durrani was sentenced to serve one more day. He will also be on probation for three years.
It was not clear when exactly Durrani would be released from custody at Maplehurst Detention Centre in Milton, Ont., west of Toronto.
As part of the guilty plea an agreed statement of facts was entered containing everything Durrani admits to, including participating in a discussion about plan to storm Parliament Hill and behead the prime minister.
The first of two training camps took place in December 2005 in Washago, Ont., north of Toronto, and was held so the leaders could provide training and assess the suitability of potential recruits to their terrorist group, according to the agreed statement of facts.
The men - including a police agent - and youths took part in war games and mock combat activities, including a military-style obstacle course while listening to "fighting jihadist rhetoric with explicitly combative language," the statement reads.
Durrani admitted that, at one point, he was put in charge of the younger participants and carried a flag "of the declaration of faith" in a single-file march he led.
Not all of the attendees were told the purpose of the camp before they arrive, but by the end "all in attendance understood its true purpose," according to the agreed facts.
Durrani also admitted to driving to northern Ontario with two other men to search for a safe house to store the terrorist group's weapons.
On the drive a chant was played in the car - which police had bugged - that included "blow them up, blow them up the conquerors and defeat them," and talk of seeking "revenge" for "our brothers in Chechnya and in Afghanistan...and in Palestine."
Durrani was also "instrumental" in organizing the second training camp, which was planned to refresh the recruits, the statement reads.
Four other men still face trial in March.
In addition to Durrani and Amara, Ali Dirie, Saad Gaya and Saad Khalid have pleaded guilty to terrorism offences. Seven other people had their charges dropped or stayed.
One man, Shareef Abdelhaleem, 34, the last of the alleged bomb plotters to be dealt with by the courts, is currently on trial. A police informant was under cross-examination Wednesday in his seventh day of testimony at Abdelhaleem's trial.