TORONTO (AFP) – Canadian prosecutors on Monday moved to skip a preliminary hearing for two accused in an alleged plot to derail a passenger train, and proceed directly to trial.
Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, and Raed Jaser, 35, face terrorism charges in what police say was a plot with "direction and guidance" from Al-Qaeda to attack a Via Rail train in the Toronto area.
The Public Prosecution Service of Canada announced a direct indictment against the pair, bypassing the usual preliminary hearing in which a judge determines if there is sufficient evidence for a trial, and going directly to trial.
No reason was given for the move.
Prosecutors also dropped one of five charges against Esseghaier, for instructing another person to carry out a terrorist activity. Jasser still faces three terrorism-related charges.
Canadian 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.
Esseghaier and Jasser are expected to appear in court again in October to set a trial date.