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Terror suspect guilty on two of three counts

OTTAWA - Former Ottawa hospital technician Misbahuddin Ahmed was found guilty Friday of two terrorism-related charges, but a jury acquitted him on a third more serious count.

Ahmed, 30, was convicted of conspiring to knowingly facilitate a terrorist activity and participation in the activities of a terrorist group. He was found not guilty of possession of explosives with intent to do harm.

He was taken into custody pending sentencing on Sept. 15.

"I never enjoy sending anyone to prison," Ontario Superior Court Justice Colin McKinnon told the jury, "but I think this is an appropriate case for doing that."

Neatly dressed in a grey suit, yellow shirt and striped tie, Ahmed fiddled with a piece of paper and showed no obvious emotion as the verdict was delivered after two days of deliberations.

A female relative wept as the guilty findings were read out.

She and other family members, many of who attended much of the two-month trial, were allowed to spend a few minutes with Ahmed in a room near the court before he was taken away.

Ahmed faces a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison on the conspiracy charge and 10 years on the participation charge.

He and two alleged co-conspirators were charged following a top-secret RCMP security operation dubbed Project Samossa.

The Crown contended the three men agreed to raise money to support a violent jihad and to make and use explosives against targets in Canada.

During a seven-month operation, RCMP anti-terrorist officers collected thousands of intercepts through surveillance of the homes, cars, phones and computer communications of the three men.

One of the co-accused, Khurram Syed Sher, was tried by a judge earlier this year on one conspiracy count.

Sher was an anatomical pathologist in St. Thomas, Ont., south of London, before his arrest in August 2010.

A publication ban was imposed on the identity of the third alleged co-conspirator.

Crown prosecutor Jason Wakely said Friday's verdict is a significant conviction under Canada's terror laws.

"There have been very few terror convictions in Canada, fortunately," he said.

"This is one of only a handful ... we're fortunate and we should feel glad that that's the case. It is significant. And the only reason that there are so few of these is because it is such a serious offence.

"As an offence, it contemplates harming your fellow Canadians to advance some sort of religious or ideological agenda. And that's what the jury has found that Mr. Ahmed intended to do."

Defence lawyer Mark Ertel said Ahmed didn't pose a threat.

"I think everyone who was present during the trial knows what kind of a man this guy is. He doesn't pose any danger to anyone," Ertel said.

"He's a good man, a family man. The jury obviously found that for a short period of time in his life, he was misguided."

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