Maclean’s has a summary pulling together files from Nicholas Köhler, Charlie Gillis, Michael Friscolanti and Martin Patriquin on what is known about the two men arrested yesterday in a plot to commit an act of terror on a Canadian passenger train:
One of the men, Raed Jaser, is believed to have grown up in a Palestinian family with Jordanian roots. Court records seem to indicate he went on to a troubled history in Toronto, where authorities arrested him after a months’-long investigation they say ultimately leads back to al-Qaeda elements in Iran.
Although he is not a Canadian citizen, Jaser, 35, appears to have been in Ontario for at least two decades.
In October 1995, a man with the same name and year of birth was criminally charged in Newmarket, Ont., with fraud under $5,000 (the charge was withdrawn a year later). In December 2000, a week after his 24th birthday, Jaser was arrested and charged again, this time with uttering threats. Although court records show he was convicted of that charge, it’s not clear what sentence he received.
[. . .]
Details about the other man police say was involved in the plot, [Chiheb] Esseghaier, a resident of Montreal, are also coming into focus. A highly trained engineer, he had the resumé of an academic poised to go places.
As recently as last month he was publishing research papers.
The March 2013 edition of journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics published a paper on advanced HIV detection by Esseghaier, Mohammed Zourob and a fellow PhD student named Andy Ng.
According to his CV, Esseghaier was born in Tunisia. He received an engineering degree from Institut Tunisia’s National des Sciences Appliquées et de Technologie in 2007, with his masters degree following in 2008. He then moved to Université de Sherbrooke to research “SPR biosensor and gallium arsenide semi-conductor biofunctionnalization.” In November 2010, he joined Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS), a graduate institution associated with the Université du Québec.