Ontario man who left Canada to join ISIS free after time served, faces probation and DNA order


An Ontario man who pleaded guilty to leaving Canada to cross into Syria and join ISIS has been sentenced to 49 months in prison and 12 months probation, but will serve no additional time in custody.

Given the time he spent in pre-trial detention since his arrest, Ikar Mao is free — but must undergo 12 months probation and provide a DNA sample. Mao pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge on Monday.

Taken into account in his sentencing were the facts that he pleaded guilty, agreed to seek counselling from an imam on deradicalization, that he had no prior record, and that he is studying at a university. 

Court also heard Mao changed jails four times during his time in detention, endured several lockdowns largely because of jail staff shortages, did not receive proper treatment during Ramadan when it came to proper food scheduling, and was subject to humiliation by guards.

In an agreed statement of facts filed with the court, Mao admitted to travelling to Turkey for the express purpose of crossing the border into Syria and making himself available to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

When he returned to Canada on Oct. 19, 2019, some of his personal items were seized, including numerous electronic devices. A search of the items demonstrated Mao travelled to Turkey in order to enter Syria and then to ISIS-controlled territory, according to the agreed statement of facts.

Federal prosecutors withdrew a second charge against Ikar Mao.

A news release from The Public Prosecution Service of Canada earlier this week said the Crown expected to stay the charges against his wife.

Mao and his wife, who is from Markham, Ont., were detained in Turkey in July 2019 after family members alerted officials they feared they might be planning to cross the border into Syria to join ISIS. They were released and returned to Canada in October the same year.

Mao was arrested and charged in November. He was denied bail in December 2019. 

Nine months later, his wife was also arrested in Pickering, Ont., and charged with the same offences. She was granted bail with conditions in March of this year. 

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