The trial of 2014 Algonquin social work graduate Awso Peshdary, in custody facing terrorism-related charges, will continue in May 2019 after several days of testimony in December.
Peshdary, 28, was charged in 2015 with allegedly recruiting, financing and facilitating a terrorist group and is currently on trial for these charges.
He was involved in the now-defunct Algonquin College Muslim Student Association, which was alleged to have recruited members to join terrorist group ISIL in 2015.
Those members included former MSA president and Algonquin business student, Khadar Khalib, 23. Photos of Khalib surfaced on social media from an ISIL battlefield, and he is suspected to have been killed in battle.
According to court testimony, as reported in the Ottawa Citizen by reporter Aedan Helmer late last fall, another alleged recruit, John Maguire, 24, met Peshdary in 2012 at a lecture at the college. Maguire was 22 in 2012 when he left Canada for the last time.
He later surfaced in an ISIL recruitment video two years later, asking Muslims to wage jihad on Canadian soil. An ISIL-linked Twitter account posted that Maguire had died.
The trial, which began in 2015 and has continued into 2018, heard testimony from Abdullah Milton, the star witness for the prosecution who met Peshdary through the MSA.
Milton became an agent for the RCMP, recording conversations with Peshdary. The Citizen reported Milton testified that he and Peshdary were “best friends” as he secretly recorded their interactions for nearly a year beginning in the spring of 2014, providing RCMP handlers hours of recordings and volumes of notes now entered as evidence at Peshdary’s trial.
He passed along intercepts as he made contact with Peshdary’s associates — alleged recruits from the Algonquin College Muslim Students’ Association — and later made and maintained contact with two foreign fighters who had left Ottawa for Syria: John Maguire and Khadar Khalib.
The trial resumes in May 2019.
RELATED PREVIOUS STORIES BY THE ALGONQUIN TIMES