TORONTO – The lawyer for a Canadian terror suspect accused of conspiring to kill Americans abroad said Thursday his client will fight extradition to the United States.
Lawyer Bob Aloneissi said that an extradition case involving Faruq Khalil Muhammad 'Isa could take months.
Muhammad 'Isa, a 38-year-old Canadian citizen and Iraqi national, is accused of plotting suicide bomb attacks in Iraq, including one that killed five U.S. soldiers.
He appeared in court briefly Thursday on charges of supporting a multinational terrorist network that took part in suicide bombings. His case was put over to next Thursday for a bail hearing.
U.S. prosecutors were seeking the defendant's extradition to face U.S. charges of conspiring to kill Americans and providing material support to terrorists.
If convicted, Muhammad 'Isa faces life in prison.
"I think any Canadian would want to stay in Canada to answer to charges," Aloneissi said outside court. "They are probably some of the most serious charges that an individual can face."
Muhammad 'Isa was arrested in Edmonton, Alberta, on Wednesday on a U.S. warrant after a joint investigation by the FBI's New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Tunisian authorities.
U.S. officials said Muhammad 'Isa, also known as Sayfildin Tahir Sharif, was a long-distance conspirator and booster for Tunisian jihadists in Iraq, urging them in a series of messages to kill "dog Americans" in suicide bombings.
Federal prosecutors in New York allege that though Muhammad 'Isa never left Canada, he was a key part of a terror network involved in attacks in Iraq in 2009.
Using wiretaps and other methods, investigators linked Muhammad 'Isa to a terror network they say used a suicide bomber to detonate an explosives-laden truck outside the gate of the U.S. base in Mosul on April 10, 2009, that killed the five soldiers.
The complaint says the group also staged a suicide bombing on an Iraqi police station on March 31, 2009, killing seven people.
The day after the soldiers were killed, Muhammad 'Isa was captured on tape discussing the attack with one his Iraqi-based cohorts, the complaint says.
The complaint says Muhammad 'Isa advised one would-be suicide bomber in March 2009 to "keep reading the Quran and repeat the famous prayers on the way until you meet with God." Tunisian authorities arrested the man when he tried to leave the country in April 2009.
In another conversation last year, the defendant allegedly urged another man to target Americans in the name of Islam.
"Islam came for the good of humanity," he said, according to the complaint. "So if someone doesn't like good, we fight them, like those dog Americans."
U.S. authorities allege Muhammad 'Isa informed the network leader in January that he too hoped to die as a martyr in Iraq, adding, "Even if I can't work over there, I can work here."