An Ontario man accused of leaving Canada with his wife a year ago to join the Islamic State terrorist group was denied bail in a decision handed down by Thursday.
Ikar Mao, a 22-year-old from Guelph, Ont., was charged on Dec. 6 with participation in the activity of a terrorist group and leaving Canada to participate in the activity of a terrorist group.
His appeal of his detention was dismissed by the court. The reasons for the decision have not been released.
Another Canadian ISIS suspect, alleged Ottawa recruiter Awso Peshdary, was also to have a bail review on Thursday. He was arrested in 2015, but his trial has not yet concluded.
Many of the accused who are awaiting trial in Ontario detention facilities have been arguing before the courts they should be released from custody due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After departing Toronto in June 2019, Mao and his wife made their way to southern Turkey, where they were arrested by local authorities in July and held for three months.
“I am travelling in Turkey with my wife because we want to move here soon, especially in Sanliurfa, because both Turkish and Arabic are spoken here,” he wrote on the website Couchsurfing prior to his arrest.
Sanliurfa is north of what was once a key transit point for foreign extremists crossing from Turkey into Syria before making their way to the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.
Mao returned to Toronto on Oct. 19 and was arrested on a terrorism peace bond on Nov. 10. He was released on bail but then arrested again, this time on two counts of terrorism.
The RCMP alleged he had tried to join ISIS. His wife has not been charged. Details of the case cannot be reported due to a court-imposed publication ban.
Kurdish and coalition forces pushed ISIS out of its last territory in Syria more than a year ago. Thousands of ISIS fighters and their families are now detained in northern Syria.
Several Canadians are among those in custody.
The terrorist group, which grew out of the al-Qaeda faction in Iraq, has taken advantage of recent instability in the region to mount increasing attacks in Syria and Iraq.