Canada train terror suspects in court
24 May 2013, 08:12
Toronto - Suspects in an alleged plot to derail a Canadian passenger
train made brief court appearances on Thursday, with one asking for
unusual legal aid while the other's lawyer pleaded his innocence.
Esseghaier, 30, and Raed Jaser, 35, both appeared via video link to
face charges in what police said was a plot with "direction and
guidance" from al-Qaeda to attack a Via Rail train in the Toronto area.
Esseghaier had previously lashed out at Canada's criminal justice system, rejecting the validity of the proceedings against him.
a reversal, he agreed on Thursday to have a lawyer represent him, with
one caveat: the individual must rely on the Qur'an, or Muslim holy book,
"as a reference" in preparing his defence.
"I don't want a book written by humans," he said.
Bethell, a defense lawyer for Jaser, meanwhile, told reporters outside
the Toronto courthouse that her client planned to plead not guilty, and
will seek bail.
"At this time, he denies all the allegations against him," she said.
authorities have been tight-lipped about their ongoing investigation of
the alleged plot, while a publication ban prevents reporting of any
evidence presented in court.
But local media have said the two men
were planning to blow up a passenger train as it crossed a bridge near
Niagara Falls on the Canada-US border.
Both men are expected back in court next month.