Terror charges likely against 5 Americans

 
Sargodha Magistrate Muhammad Aslam Waniwaal handed the custody of the youths to the police on physical remand, apparently to pursue terrorism charges.

The US is keen to get the detained American youths back home where they could also face custody and questioning by US agencies. The arrest of the youths has brought to fore fears that Americans and other Westerners are heading to Pakistan to link up with al-Qaeda and other militant groups.

Police told the court that further interrogation of the suspects is necessary as they had mentioned the name of a nuclear plant in a message saved in their common e-mail account and this “sensitive” issue needs to be probed.

Police officials also said, they might ask the court to further extend the remand if necessary. The judge refused a request by the suspects to be detained together instead of separate cells.

The young Muslim men, who are from the Washington, DC, area have not yet been formally charged with any crime.

However, the police are now alleging that the men were collecting and attempting to collect material to carry out terrorist activities.

The five were arrested in Sargodha earlier this month, but are being held in Lahore.
Police had said earlier that American youths were trying to link up with militant groups and intending to go fight in Afghanistan.

The youths are accused of using the Facebook and YouTube web sites to try to connect with religious extremist groups in Pakistan and are said to have established contact with a Taliban recruiter.

The men were picked up by Pakistani authorities after their worried families in the US turned to the FBI to track them down. The Lahore High Court has already ordered that the suspects cannot be deported or handed over to any foreign agency, including the FBI, without its permission.

Sargodha police chief Usman Anwar told media on Thursday that the interrogation of the suspects had been completed and they would be tried in an anti-terrorism court.

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