Mohammed Abdullah Warsame, a 35-year-old born in Somalia, was charged in 2004 with five counts of supporting terrorism.
The 5½ years he has spent in custody is the longest time anyone in the continental United States has waited for a trial in over 200 years, said Warsame's lawyer, Peter Erlinder. Four of those years were spent in solitary confinement.
Last month, U.S. federal prosecutors offered to drop the five charges of material terrorism if Warsame pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of conspiracy to support al-Qaeda.
Under the plea agreement, Warsame admits to conspiring with others to provide al-Qaeda with personnel, training and currency starting in March 2000.
He also admits to having attended several al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan, including one where authorities said he met al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Warsame is due to appear in U.S. Federal Court on July 9 for sentencing. It's not immediately clear whether he would be released or have to serve additional time.
The plea is contingent on Warsame returning to Canada. Erlinder told CBC News that he has received no indication from the Harper government that it will issue the documents Warsame needs.
"We have no assurances from either the U.S government or the Canadian government that Canadian law will be followed in Mr. Warsame's case," Erlinder said.
"Due to the Privacy Act, I cannot comment on the specifics of the case," said Alain Caccione, spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. But he added that "any Canadian citizen has the right to return to Canada."
Canadian officials have paid Warsame regular visits, Caccione said.
Erlinder disputes this assertion.
"Let me just say they have not been active in his case at any time," Erlinder said.
Erlinder says his client may face the same fate as Omar Khadr and Abousfian Abdelrazik, two other Canadian citizens accused of terrorism who have been detained abroad.
The federal government has refused to repatriate either man, drawing criticism from MPs and human rights groups.
The charges against Warsame related back to his activities beginning in 2000, when he left his Toronto home for Afghanistan to attend al-Qaeda training camps.
"Like many young Muslims, he was attracted by the notion of an Islamic state he believed was a sort of utopia," Erlinder said.
But Warsame soon grew disillusioned with al-Qaeda, he said.
Warsame returned to Canada in March 2001, then relocated to Minneapolis, where he attended a technical college. Throughout 2002 and 2003, he exchanged emails and provided information to several people associated with al-Qaeda, according to documents that outline the plea agreement.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested him in 2003 after seeing him at a Minneapolis mosque talking to Zakarias Moussaoui, known later as the 20th Sept. 11, 2001, hijacker.
Erlinder claims the FBI wanted Warsame to lie and say Moussaoui had admitted to him that he was the 20th hijacker. When Warsame refused, authorities charged him with supporting terrorism, Erlinder says.With files from Bill Gillespie
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
Why bother with that legally correct nonsense about a trial?
The United States should follow Canada's lead set by Canadian Judges
who don't mess with the legal niceties of having legal process, the right to a full answer and defense etc.
Take Ottawa Ontario Superior Court Judge Allan Sheffield, he makes private arrangements, for "rubber stamp" "summary judgment" motions , that is, he assumes, without a trial, that there is "no genuine issue for trial" when a trial was ordered by numerous other judges.
Then there is Justice Denis Power he did not like another judge's order for a fast track trial of custody, and a judge, yes, a judge issuing 5 criminal charges so, Justice Denis Power issued a lifetime restraining order banishing the father from Kingston Ontario, he also loaded it up with costs that made it an unappealable lifetime jail sentence, all without a trial, and while ensuring that a trial will never happen.
Ontario really knows how to deal with the politically incorrect, if a case gets to the Ontario Court of Appeal, they have their "hitmen" of the judiciary, judges such as Feldman, who are only too willing to flagrantly abuse their judicial power to "get rid of cases" not for any genuine legal reason but for politically correct reasons.
The eradication of trials, is increasingly seen as being politically correct as is ignoring the law or using or more the point abusing the process of law , abusing the Rule of Law for political purposes.
Its a short sighted selfish attitude that demonstrates an underlying serious personality disorder. Something that you can see in many political "leaders" not to mention the politically appointed judiciary who have no accountability and operate with impunity.