Pak-origin Chicago taxi driver produced before court

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".

PTI



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

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