5 Northern Virginian Men Charged With Terrorism
The men, ages 18 to 24, face life imprisonment in Pakistan
By ASHA BEH
Updated 9:30 AM EDT, Wed, Mar 17, 2010
Five men from Alexandria were charged Wednesday with plotting terrorism in Pakistan.
A Pakistani court formally charged the men, ages 18 to 24, with six counts of violating state and anti-terror laws and accused them of contacting militants on the Internet, according to their lawyer, Hassan Dastagir. The men -- Umar Chaudhry, 24; Ramy Zamzam, 22; Ahmad A. Minni, 20; Waqar Khan, 22; and Aman Hassan Yemer, 18 -- pleaded not guilty.
"The court brought charges of terrorism against my clients and fixed March 31 for the next hearing in which the prosecution would produce evidence and witnesses," Dastagir told Reuters.
Lawyers for the men said the trial should take about six months, and would be held in a special anti-terror court before a judge, according to the Washington Post. If convicted, the men face potential life imprisonment.
The five Muslims were arrested Dec. 8 in Punjab province at the family home of Khalid Farooq Chaudhry, the father of one of the men. They had been reported missing by their families just after Thanksgiving, after one left behind a farewell video showing scenes of war and casualties and saying Muslims must be defended.
Pakistani police have publicly made several accusations against the young men, claiming the suspects emailed Pakistani militants about attacking their country and Afghanistan, and of wanting to fight alongside the Taliban.