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Quebec man guilty of terror charges

A handout photo of Said Namouh who was accused of disseminating terrorist propaganda in Montreal Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009.

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The Maskinongé terrorist was found guilty today on four charges of taking part in the activities of a terrorist group, including one count of plotting to set off a bomb in Vienna.

The three other charges accused Saïd Namouh of acting as a propaganda arm for violent Islamists.

Mr. Namouh engaged in hundreds of online conversations and produced videos praising violent attacks on U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. He lauded the kidnappers of a British journalist in Gaza and allegedly helped distribute ransom demands. He threatened future attacks in Germany and Austria.

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In a series of chats in August, 2007, Mr. Namouh planned a trip to Egypt and Germany for a mission involving a bomb attack. In one brief online comment, he proclaimed his expertise in explosives. His handler and alleged co-conspirator sent him $800, suggesting he buy a gun.

The judge found the series of videos Mr. Namouh produced, along with the Internet chatter, constituted acts of terrorism.

While Mr. Namouh appeared to dream of jihad, much of the wiretapped evidence captures his troubles with money and women, along with his disorganized attempt to get a passport for his alleged mission.

In Internet Jihad circles, the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) is known as one of the oldest and most far-reaching networks. Writing as Ashraf from his home in central Quebec, Mr. Namouh submitted 1,075 postings to the site.

Quebec Court Judge Claude Leblond concluded the GIMF is a terrorist group and that Mr. Namouh was a key member.

Defence lawyer Réné Duval did not contest much of the evidence the Crown presented. He based his argument, instead, on whether his client's words could be interpreted as criminal acts or free speech. But the charges against Mr. Namouh went further than idle chatter and cover specific plans to set off a bomb in Europe. He described himself as a terrorist and said he was ready to die as a martyr.

The Crown said Mr. Namouh was a key member of the GIMF, a group that prosecutor Dominique Dudemaine described as a public relations outlet for a number of jihad groups, including al-Qaeda and Army of Islam, the group that kidnapped BBC journalist Alan Johnston in Gaza in 2007.

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About the Author
National correspondent

Les Perreaux joined the Montreal bureau of the Globe and Mail in 2008. He previously worked for the Canadian Press covering national and international affairs, including federal and Quebec politics and the war in Afghanistan. More

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