MONTREAL — A member of the so-called Toronto 18 terrorist cell has been denied parole and will remain behind bars until his sentence expires next year.
The National Parole Board wrote Tuesday that Ali Dirie shows a persistent pattern of violent behaviour and remains likely to harm others.
Dirie was among 18 people arrested in 2006 for plotting to cause bloodshed and panic in Canada by bombing nuclear power plants and RCMP headquarters and attacking Parliament.
A police investigation revealed that the group suffered internal divisions and the schemes — which were under heavy surveillance by law enforcement — were never really close to fruition.
The 27-year-old Dirie appeared before the parole board on Monday and vowed he’d changed his ways.
Dirie said that while he still opposed Canada’s military role in Afghanistan, he had come to realize that a violent response was unnecessary.
In a parole board decision issued Tuesday, Dirie was ordered to stay behind bars until his sentence expires in October 2011.
“During the hearing, you try to convince the Board that you have changed, that you have modified your values but unfortunately, your words were not supported by any concrete actions,” the commissioners wrote.
“Furthermore, you have already said: ’I am out in (2011) and my actions will speak louder than words.’ ”
The Somali-born Dirie was arrested in 2005 and was already in prison when police moved in on the group in 2006.
He remained active in the organization even while behind bars, recruiting inmates for extremist plots while trying to procure weapons and travel documents.
Telephone conversations intercepted from jail also indicated Dirie was tapped to take over the group — a distinction Dirie told the board he had no interest in.
“According to your case-management team, when discussing your involvement in the terrorist organization, you provide an abbreviated version of your role,” the parole commissioners wrote.
“You accept minimal responsibility and deny most of the details in your file.”
That, coupled with a number of violent incidents involving guards in Ontario jails, earned Dirie a spot in the Special Handling Unit, Canada’s highest super-maximum security prison reserved for the worst offenders.
That’s where Dirie will stay until next year.
Dirie told the board during his hearing that he hadn’t expected to be granted an early release.
“I don’t have to prove anything to anybody here. I’ll have to prove myself to the public and that’s all that matters in the end,” he said.