Pak-origin Chicago taxi driver produced before court
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Last Updated: Tuesday, March 30, 2010, 23:49
Chicago: A Chicago taxi driver of Pakistani origin, who claims to have known HuJI chief Ilyas Kashmiri for 15 years and arrested on charges of providing material support and funds to Al-Qaida, was on Tuesday produced before a US court.

Raja Lahrasib Khan, who was arrested on Friday last from downtown Chicago as he was waiting in his cab for customers, was produced by US Magistrate Geraldine Soat Brown.

Half-bald, with a short white beard, Khan was clad in an orange prison jumpsuit.

The Judge set April 7 as the date for preliminary hearing.

Khan's wife and family members were also present at the court.

His lawyer Thomas Durkin said the "complaint that has been filed appears to be a one-sided document that paints him with a broad brush. We are looking to fight the case."

"Whatever mentioned about Al-qaeda appears to be coming out from the mouth of an undercover agent," he told reporters.

Khan, a resident of the city's north side, was charged with two counts of providing material support to terrorism in a criminal complaint that was filed on Friday in US District Court and unsealed yesterday following his arrest.

Khan is being held at the federal lock-up Metropolitan Correctional Centre where 26/11 plotter David Coleman Headley and co-accused Tahawwur Hussain Rana are also detained. His arrest came five months after Headley and Rana were held.

The US Attorney's office said investigation leading to Khan's arrest is unrelated to the terrorism charges against Rana and Headley in connection with the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai and a plot to attack targets in Denmark.

According to the affidavit, Khan, who claims to have known Kashmiri for approximately 15 years, learned in 2008 that Kashmiri was working with al-Qaeda and purportedly receiving orders from Osama bin Laden.

"According to Khan, during his meeting or meetings with Kashmiri, Khan learned that Kashmiri wanted to train operatives to conduct attacks in the US. Kashmiri showed Khan a video depicting the detonation of an improvised explosive device and told him that he needed money, in any amount, to be able to purchase materials from the black market," the complaint said.

Kashmiri is a leader of Pakistan-based Harakat ul-Jihad-I-Islami (HUJI) which has al-Qaeda links.

The charges against Khan allege that on November 23, 2009, he transferred approximately USD 950 from a currency exchange here to Individual A in Pakistan's region of "either Mirpur or Bhimber".


First Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2010, 23:49

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