Train Plot Suspect Says Canadian Laws Not A "Holy Book"

by
Reuters
One of two men charged in Canada with plotting to attack a passenger train dismissed Canada's criminal code on Wednesday as imperfect, saying only God is perfect.

Chiheb Esseghaier

One of two men charged in Canada with plotting to attack a passenger train dismissed Canada's criminal code on Wednesday as imperfect, saying only God is perfect.

Speaking during a brief hearing where he was ordered back into custody, Chiheb Esseghaier said the allegations against him were based on laws that cannot be relied on, because they are not the work of God.

"All of these conclusions was taken out based on (the) Criminal Code," the Tunisian-born Esseghaier, 30, told a Toronto court. "The Criminal Code is not (a) holy book."

Esseghaier said the Code is not perfect: "Only the Creator is perfect."

Esseghaier, 30, along with Raed Jaser of Toronto, were arrested on Monday in separate raids after what police said was a joint Canada-U.S. investigation that started last year after a tip from a member of the Muslim community.

Esseghaier and Jaser, who appeared at a similar hearing on Tuesday, face charges that include conspiracy to murder in association with a terrorist group.

Esseghaier, who has a thick black beard and wore a blue-black windbreaker, declined to use an Arabic interpreter the court had made available.

But at times he seemed to struggle to understand the proceedings, asking the judge to explain what she meant when she asked if he wished to have the charges read to him.

He spoke at some length with the court's duty counsel, who typically assists defendants who do not have their own lawyer.