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Jury selection complete at terrorism related trial for two young Quebecers

MONTREAL — Fourteen jurors were selected Tuesday at the terrorism-related trial of two young adults, with particular attention in the vetting process paid to race and religion.

El Mahdi Jamali, 20, and Sabrine Djermane, 21, each face four charges: attempting to leave Canada to commit a terror act abroad; possession of an explosive substance; facilitating a terrorist act; and committing an act under the direction or for the profit of a terrorist organization.

Both pleaded not guilty through their lawyers before six men and eight women were eventually selected as jurors.

Each of the nearly 150 candidates were asked by Quebec Superior Court Justice Marc David whether their impartiality would be affected by the fact the accused are of Arab descent and practise the Muslim faith.

Some told the court they could not guarantee their impartiality. They were sent on their way.

Others asked for exemptions because of work commitments, health problems or pre-planned travel.

When they were arrested in April 2015, the accused were students at College de Maisonneuve, a Montreal junior college, and one man said his ties to the school made it impossible for him to serve on the jury.

Of the 14 jurors selected, 12 will deliberate the case at the end of the trial.

``Rest assured, I will do everything in my power to assure the efficient progress of the trial in order to respect the announced timeline,'' David said.

The trial is expected to last 10 weeks.

The federal prosecutor in the case rattled off the names of 31 Crown witnesses who will testify. Neither defence team has outlined whether it will present witnesses.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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