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Informant in Canada terror trial paid thousands

Friday, June 13, 2008

BRAMPTON, Ontario —  The Canadian government's key witness against an alleged terrorism cell testified Friday that he was paid nearly $300,000 for infiltrating the group as a police informant.

At the trial of a purported cell member, Mubin Shaikh said he initially agreed to do the job for about $75,000.

Shaikh said he eventually earned $292,000 over the several months that he acted as an informant in a case that led to the arrests of 18 people in 2006.

The suspects were accused of plotting to take hostages in Parliament and set off bombs in Toronto and Ottawa.

He told prosecutor John Neander that the higher payout reflected the magnitude of what he had become involved in.

"This has just morphed into this huge thing," said Shaikh, 32, a married father. "It's lost on a lot of people that my life as it was in the community ... in a single day changed."

In his third day on the witness stand, Shaikh also told the Ontario Superior Court that mistrust between two of the alleged plot leaders led to a split in the Toronto-area group in the weeks before police arrested the suspects.

The trial had previously heard how one of the purported leaders boasted about importing crates of high-powered weapons that never materialized and talked about attacking Parliament and beheading politicians.

"He really didn't have much to show for it," Shaikh quoted the other alleged leader as saying. He said that suspect felt the first man was "exaggerating, blatantly lying about things."

None of group's members can be identified by court order.

Prosecutors played a wiretapped conversation in court Friday during which the accused expressed interest to Shaikh about going to fight in Iraq against the U.S.-led coalition, but seemed to have had little idea of how to get there.

The accused, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of participating in and contributing to the activity of a terrorist group, is being tried as a youth offender because he was 17 when he was arrested. He is 20 now.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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