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Five Americans Charged in Pakistan Terror

Wednesday, 17 Mar 2010 08:11 AM

SARGODHA, Pakistan — A Pakistani court on Wednesday indicted five Americans on terror charges that could see them jailed for life if found guilty of plotting attacks with Al-Qaeda-linked groups, lawyers said.

The five US citizens aged 18 to 25 denied the charges, which were read out in an anti-terrorism court convened in the district jail of eastern city of Sargodha, where they were arrested last December 2009.

"Charges have been laid against all the accused. All these charges are terrorism related. The offences are punishable by life imprisonment," defence lawyer Shahid Kamal told reporters.

"The charges were read out by the judge. The judge asked if they accept the charges. All the accused unanimously rejected them. They said 'we totally deny the charges'," defence lawyer Hasan Dastagir told AFP.

The next hearing has been adjourned until March 31, when the prosecutor is scheduled to provide evidence against the accused.

Proceedings have been held amid tight security and reporters were not allowed inside the prison where the accused have been languishing, nor into the hearing that has been relocated to the district jail over security fears.

A Pakistani court has barred the Americans' deportation to the United States, where they lived before travelling to Pakistan last year.

The men have claimed to have been tortured in custody but prison officials have denied the accusations.

Prosecutors and police had called for the five men to be charged with plotting militant attacks in Pakistan and attempting to commit an act of terror against countries that are at peace with Pakistan.

Although those countries have not been named, Pakistani officials have said the young men planned to travel to neighbouring Afghanistan and join up with Taliban-led militants fighting US and NATO troops.

The suspects, however, have repeatedly denied any links to militant groups and insist that they wanted to travel to Afghanistan for charity work.

Investigators have said that the men planned to travel from Sargodha to South Waziristan -- part of Pakistan's lawless tribal region and a training ground and sanctuary for Islamist networks.

Pakistan is under major US pressure to do more to eliminate Islamist networks that have carved out training grounds and havens in the country's northwest to plot attacks against Western troops fighting in Afghanistan.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

   
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SARGODHA, Pakistan — A Pakistani court on Wednesday indicted five Americans on terror charges that could see them jailed for life if found guilty of plotting attacks with Al-Qaeda-linked groups, lawyers said.
Pakista,terror,charges,Americans
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2010-11-17
Wednesday, 17 Mar 2010 08:11 AM
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