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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 June 2006, 01:37 GMT 02:37 UK
Blackout on Canada terror trial
Relatives outside the court during last week's hearing
There were chaotic scenes outside court at last week's hearing
Lawyers acting for a group of Canadian terror suspects have complained about a media blackout on court proceedings.

Speaking after 14 of the 17 suspects appeared at a bail hearing in Brampton, Ontario, they said it was indicative that the men cannot get a fair trial.

Details of the charges they face have not been published but their lawyers say they include an alleged plot to storm parliament and behead the PM.

The accusations against the men, mostly Canadians, has caused nationwide shock.

Citizens' rights

Rocco Galati, representing one of the suspects, who include five teenagers, complained that the men were being harshly treated.

"They have five minutes to eat their meals or they are taken away," he said.

"The accused are not aliens from another planet. They are Canadians accused under the Criminal Code. No more, no less," he added.

Equipment seized by police during the raid
Police seized an array of bomb-making materials

There were chaotic scenes outside the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton last week when charges were brought against the accused, as family members were jostled in the media scrum.

Detailed charges have not been released but a defence lawyer said they ranged from plots to blow up parliament buildings to attacks on media outlets to press demands that Canadian forces be withdrawn from Afghanistan.

One suspect was accused of wanting to behead the prime minister, an allegation defence lawyers said was "scare-mongering".

Identity in the dock

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced on 2 June that it had foiled an alleged bombing campaign in and around Toronto which the Canadian intelligence agency described as "al-Qaeda-inspired".

In a series of raids, officers arrested 15 of the suspects and seized what they described as bomb-making material, including three metric tons of ammonium nitrate.

Officials said the group "posed a real and serious threat" with "the capacity and intent to carry out these attacks".

As well as the 14 accused due in court on Monday, another suspect is scheduled for a hearing on 4 July. The other two are already in prison on unrelated weapons charges.

All of the accused are Muslim and most of them are Canadian citizens. The allegations have raised testing questions for Canadians over their country's identity and tolerance, says the BBC's Daniel Lak in Toronto.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper held a closed-door meeting with Muslim community leaders at the weekend to discuss the impact of the arrests.

There have been fears of a backlash. A Toronto mosque was vandalised after the arrests were announced and on Friday a prominent imam was attacked outside his mosque in Montreal by a man carrying a knife.




SEE ALSO
Canada man 'planned to behead PM'
07 Jun 06 |  Americas
Terror suspects seized in Toronto
03 Jun 06 |  Americas
Country profile: Canada
06 May 06 |  Country profiles

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