US terror suspects in Pakistan keen to return home: Lawyer
Five Americans held in Pakistan on terrorism charges informed a judge in written statements that they were innocent and keen to return to the United States.
Islamabad: Five Americans held in Pakistan
on terrorism charges informed a judge in written statements on Saturday that they were innocent and keen to return to the United
States, a defence lawyer said.
The men aged between 19 and 25 are being tried behind
closed doors at an anti-terrorism court in a district jail in
the eastern city of Sargodha, where they were arrested in
They were indicted in March and have denied charges of
funnelling money to outlaws and of plotting a terror attack.
They face life in prison if convicted.
The men have again professed their innocence in separate
written statements submitted to the judge, Mian Anwar Nazeer,
defence lawyer Hassan Katchela said.
"They denied the charges, insisting that they opposed
violence and bloodshed and had been engaged in peace and
social work," Katchela said a news agency by telephone after the court
adjourned until May 21.
Seven charges have been filed against the five suspects,
Umar Farooq, Waqar Hussain, Rami Zamzam, Ahmad Abdullah Mini
and Amman Hassan Yammer.
"My only wish is to be back home and join my mom," Mini
said in his statement to the judge.
"She always taught me to be kind to the people and be
peaceful. I never wanted to disobey my parents. I miss them
and I wish to return home as soon as possible," Mini wrote.
Claiming to be a "liberal" person, Mini also told the
judge he once won an inter-school "breakdancing" contest in
his home state of Virginia, his lawyer said.
Mini, who said he ran an organisation in the US called
Protest for Peace, said he had been "inspired after seeing a
movie `Kite Runner` in 2008 and decided to go and do charity
work in Afghanistan."
The movie, about two boys` war-wracked childhood in
Afghanistan, also inspired Waqar Hussain, who was quoted by
Katchela as telling the judge that it had inspired him to help
"I always worked for peace and and would like to be in my
country soon. I want to complete my studies in radiology and
live with my beautiful fiancee," his lawyer quoted him as
telling the judge.
Defence lawyers last month cross-examined nine
prosecution witnesses including district police chief Usman
Anwar, who said the suspects were plotting to conduct a
campaign terror in Pakistan.
Investigators believe the men planned to travel from
Sargodha to South Waziristan, a training ground for Islamist
militants in Pakistan`s lawless tribal belt and a region
targeted by a major military operation last year.
Prosecution lawyer Nadeem Cheema confirmed that the
accused had denied the charges. The case may be concluded
sometime next month, Cheema said.