August 27, 2019 / 5:46 PM / 19 days ago

Canadian court grants new trial to two men charged with attempted train bombing

TORONTO, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Two men found guilty of terrorism charges in 2015 for an attempted bombing aimed at derailing a VIA Rail passenger train two years earlier, have been granted a new trial, a provincial court in Canada said on Tuesday.

Canadian police had arrested and charged Raed Jaser, now 41, and Chiheb Esseghaier, 36, ahead of the planned attack, saying the operation was backed by the al Qaeda militant group in Iran.

U.S. officials said at the time that the attack would have targeted a rail line between New York and Toronto, a route that travels along the Hudson Valley into New York wine country and enters Canada near Niagara Falls.

In February, the two accused asked for a new trial, citing errors made in the case as well as rejection of a request they had made pertaining to jury selection.

The Ontario Court of Appeals said on Tuesday that it agreed with the accused and ordered the 2015 conviction to be set aside.

VIA is Canada's equivalent of Amtrak and operates passenger rail services on tracks owned primarily by Canadian National Railway Co. (Reporting by Moira Warburton; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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