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Five Americans charged with terror offenses in Pakistan

SARGODHA, Pakistan — Five American students caught in Pakistan last year were charged Wednesday with terrorism-related offenses, and they'll face a full trial and the prospect of a jail sentence. They alleged that Pakistani police had tortured them.

The men, identified as Ramy Zamzam of Egyptian descent, Waqar Khan and Umar Farooq of Pakistani descent, and Aman Hassan Yemer and Ahmed Minni of Ethiopian descent, were arrested in the central Pakistani town of Sargodha in December. They had traveled to Pakistan after making contact with an Islamic extremist over the Internet.

Shahid Kamal, their defense lawyer, told McClatchy Newspapers that there were six charges against the men.

"The crux of the charges is that they tried to wage war against Pakistan and its allies, that they tried to fund proscribed organizations, and that they induced and directed people to commit terrorist acts," he said.

The men, all Muslims, 18 to 24 years old from the Washington suburbs and close friends since childhood, appeared in front of a special court inside a jail in Sargodha, and reporters weren't allowed to attend.

"We will be able to rebut the charges, and these people will go free," Kamal said.

The prosecution will present evidence at a hearing March 31.

Information from the Associated Press was used in the report.

Five Americans charged with terror offenses in Pakistan 03/17/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 10:49pm]
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