Ismael Habib told a Montreal court he was so desperate to get a passport to leave Canada to rescue his wife and children that he would have said anything to an undercover RCMP agent posing as the boss of a criminal organization.
Habib, 29, testified on his own behalf for a second day Friday.
He's accused of attempting to go overseas to join a terrorist group and of providing false information to obtain a passport.
In the days leading up to Habib's confession to an undercover officer that he wanted to go overseas and fight with ISIS, he said his spiritual leader told him to say "what [the agent] wants to hear."
The court has heard that that spiritual leader was actually taking money from the RCMP for co-operating with Habib's investigation.
Habib said he was worried about the safety of his wife and two children, who he believed were being held overseas against their will. He's said his interest in getting a passport was to go and rescue his family.
His own passport was revoked in 2013, during an initial trip to Turkey and Syria.
Desperate to be hired by apparent crime ring
In a series of elaborate RCMP undercover stings, Habib was made to believe he was working with a criminal organization that provided false passports and could help smuggle him out of the country.
He had earlier tried and failed to obtain a convincing fake passport.
Habib was developing a close relationship with an undercover agent posing as the boss of the organization and was desperate to be hired to work with him.
The so-called boss approached him to act as a middle man for a job in which he was to have helped someone enter Syria, but during that conversation, that agent confronted Habib with compromising information about a trip he took to Syria in 2013.
It was in the course of that conversation, secretly recorded, that Habib said he wanted to go overseas and fight with ISIS.
Habib said he was desperate. He believed his family to be in imminent danger
"I wanted to make myself interesting. And I had an urgent desire to leave. I had no other alternative," he said.
"If I miss this opportunity, it's over."
Crown prosecutor Lyne Décarie focused her cross-examination of Habib trying to show he has credibility issues.
She pointed out he'd been living off of student loans and government child-care benefits, never letting the government know his children were living overseas.
She noted Habib had been meeting various women online and in person while he was allegedly worried about his wife, who was overseas without him.
In Habib's testimony, he said he'd left Syria after being forced to whip a prisoner.
In cross-examination, it was made clear he had whipped the prisoner during the beginning of his trip to Syria — not at the end of his stay there.
Décarie also noted Habib had told Plouffe that ISIS was taking care of his wife, giving her a home and food and letting her live among other women and children.
The trial is adjourned until May 9, when Habib's defence lawyer and the Crown will make their closing arguments.