Miamai: An elderly Miami imam pleaded
not guilty in US federal court to charges of supporting the Pakistani Taliban and was ordered held without bail, his lawyer said.
The US government accuses 76-year-old Hafiz Muhammed
Sher Ali Khan, four of his relatives and another person of
funneling money and providing support to the group branded by
Washington as a foreign terrorist organization.
Khan is the leader of Miami`s oldest mosque. His
attorney, Khurrum Wahid, expressed concern about his client
being kept in jail.
"He`s 76 years old and has health issues -- heart and
cholesterol problems," the lawyer said yesterday.
The Pakistani Taliban is engaged in a violent
resistance against the Pakistani and US governments. It also
has links to al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
One of Khan`s sons, 24-year-old Izhar Khan, also
appeared in court for the first time yesterday since their
indictment was unsealed. He is also an imam at a Florida
US Magistrate Judge Barry Garber scheduled another
hearing for May 23.
The six defendants are all Pakistanis, although some
of them have US citizenship.
The indictment unveiled Saturday names the older Khan,
two sons (Irfan and Izhar Khan), daughter Amina Khan, grandson
Alam Zeb and another individual, Ali Rehman.
The arrests and charges against the Pakistanis come
amid heightened tensions between Washington and Islamabad
following a US commando raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama
bin Laden at his hideout deep in Pakistan.