Canadian man charged with trying to leave country to join terror group

MONTREAL (AFP) - The Canadian authorities have charged a Quebec man for attempting to leave the country to take part in a terrorist group, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said on Friday (March 11).

Ismail Habib, 28, was also charged with making a false statement to obtain a passport, the RCMP added.

He faces 10 years in prison.

"This case clearly demonstrates that the RCMP and its partners are committed to investigating and prosecuting those who threaten Canada's national security," police Assistant Commissioner James Malizia said.

Habib, who has an Afghan father and a Canadian mother, was trying to reach Syria, where his wife and five-year-old daughter have been living for a year, local media reported.

The authorities had revoked his passport in 2012 after he was detained in Turkey and deported to Canada.

Habib was charged under Canada's terrorism act, which enables the authorities to bring charges against anyone suspected of participating in the activity of a terrorist group.

It also applies to cases in which a person "leaves or attempts to leave Canada".

The authorities have detained several Canadians, including minors, during the past two years for attempting to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In March last year, a 17-year-old was detained in the western province of Alberta. A month later, a girl and her companion, both 18, were indicted for attempting to leave the country to commit a terrorist act abroad, the RCMP said.

The two were enrolled in the same Montreal high school attended by five students from a group of seven second-generation immigrants who boarded a flight bound for Istanbul and eventually Syria to join ISIS fighters, according to the authorities.