Former UW student sentenced for terrorist involvement

The Student Life Centre where the former UW student was arrested in March of 2016. Photo by Juil Yoon

After being apprehended by RCMP in the Student Life Centre March 2016, former UW engineering student Kevin Omar Mohamed has been sentenced to four and a half years in prison for his role in a Syria-based terrorist group.

The judgment came on Tuesday (Oct. 31) in the Ontario Superior court after months of Mohamed’s online and in-person involvement.

The RCMP first began tracking Mohamed after he traveled to Syria in 2014 in an attempt to join Jabhat Al-Nusrah, an al-Qaida linked jihadist organization.

It was after his return to Canada that Mohamed enrolled in the faculty of engineering at the University of Waterloo.

Once home, Mohamed’s tweets grew increasingly radical as he translated al-Qaida messaging from Arabic to English. Furthermore, he passed on information to the Islamic States about the Royal Military College, and a search of his locker in an engineering building yielded documents which detailed potential targets of an unplanned terrorist attack, titled “Assassination.”

The case is not the first time a Waterloo student has been charged for terrorist activities. In 2013, Suresh Sriskandarajah faced a sentence of up to 15 years after admitting to aiding the Tamil Tigers, a Sri Lankan terrorist group, with smuggled military technology.

Reportedly, Sriskandarajah pleaded “not guilty” upon his extradition.

On the day of his sentencing, Mohamed’s lawyer stated that the former student takes responsibility for his actions at home and abroad, adding that the youth would also willingly participate in a de-radicalization program.

“I’d just like to say I’m sorry,” Mohamed told the court. “I recognize [that] what I did is wrong.”