Canadian train terror plot suspect denounces charges during courtroom tirade


This courtroom sketch shows Raed Jaser in a Toronto court on April 23, 2013. Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, and Jaser, 35, were arrested for allegedly planning to carry out an attack on a Via Rail train, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told a news conference.



One of two men charged with plotting to bomb a train between Canada and New York appeared before a Toronto judge today, denouncing the Criminal Code and proclaiming the court has no authority.

Chiheb Esseghaier refused free legal advice and instead unleashed a tirade during his brief proceeding, Reuters reported.

“All of these conclusions was taken out based on (the) Criminal Code,” said Esseghaier, who also declined help from a translator. “The Criminal Code is not (a) holy book. … Only the Creator is perfect.”

The 30-year-old PhD student from Tunisia is to appear in court again May 23.

Police arrested Esseghaier and 35-year-old Raed Jaser on Monday on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack.

According to authorities, they planned to derail a VIA passenger train somewhere between Montreal and New York, possibly at a bridge near the Canada-US border.

The joint operation between US and Canadian security officials also suggests the duo received support or encouragement from Al Qaeda elements in Iran.

Esseghaier was supposedly homeless when Montreal police arrested him inside a McDonald’s, The Toronto Star said.

Jaser appeared in court on Tuesday, but didn’t say anything but to confirm he understood English.

The 35-year-old “family man” had started gravitating toward a more extreme view of Islam, prompting his father to approach an Imam for help.

“His son was becoming overzealous and intolerant in his understanding of the religion,” Muhammad Robert Heft told the Associated Press.

“Those are the telltale signs that can lead into the radicalization process.”

Jaser is Palestinian but immigrated to Canada from the United Arab Emirates roughly 20 years ago, the Star said.

He’s being defended by lawyer John Norris, the same man who represented former Guantanamo prisoner Omar Khadr.

Norris questioned the timing of his client’s arrest, referencing the Boston bombings and Canadian politicians debating a contentious anti-terror bill.

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