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Suspects in Canadian train-bombing plot appear in court

TORONTO, April 23 (UPI) -- The suspects charged with a plan to bomb a Canadian passenger train made brief court appearances Tuesday in Toronto and Montreal.

Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, a graduate student in Montreal, dismissed his court-appointed lawyer, telling her he did not need her, The National Post reported.

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"The conclusions are drawn from facts and words that are not what they appear to be," Esseghaier said in a Montreal courtroom.

Raed Jaser, 35, of Toronto appeared calm and confident as he stood in front of a magistrate in a packed courtroom in Old City Hall, the Toronto Sun reported. He spoke only to confirm his identity.

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Jaser was ordered held in custody. The magistrate also barred him from communicating with his co-defendant.

Esseghaier was arrested Monday at a McDonald's restaurant in Montreal, flown to Toronto and then returned to Montreal.

Faouzi Bellili, another Tunisian student in Montreal, told The (Montreal) Gazette he has known for more than a year of Esseghaier's extreme political views.

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"He was saying things like, 'When you pay taxes here, you're only helping Canadians,' and I didn't really understand and wanted to say, 'If you don't like it, leave the country'," Bellili said in a telephone interview, describing a conversation they had outside a mosque. "I realized he had a very different vision and that I was wasting my time talking to him."

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The Royal Canadian Mounted Police began the investigation based on a tip from an imam in Toronto, The (Toronto) Globe and Mail reported. The two men allegedly planned to set off a bomb that would derail a train from Toronto to New York City while it was still in Ontario.

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