Accused terrorist rants in court about strip search, gay marriage

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TORONTO - A man accused of plotting a terrorist attack on a passenger train spent most of what was supposed to be a quick, procedural court appearance in Toronto ranting about a strip search and gay marriage.

Chiheb Esseghaier, one of two men charged in the alleged Via Rail plot, butted heads today with the judge, who had not presided over the case before, shouting at Superior Court Judge John McMahon for interrupting him.

Both Esseghaier and his co-accused, Raed Jaser, were in court for what was expected to be a quick appearance to set a new date.

One was eventually set — they'll return on Feb. 21 — but not before Esseghaier, who does not have a lawyer, loudly complained about being strip-searched for weapons today and making several remarks against gay marriage.

Esseghaier complained he was forced to show his "sex" to the guard before his appearance, saying one branch of the system — the court — doesn't have confidence in the other — the jail — which shows the system is "weak."

Jaser, who is represented by lawyer John Norris and was denied bail in November, said nothing during the hearing.

Organizations: Via Rail

Geographic location: TORONTO

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