|Published:||Jun 24, 2010 11:29 AM EDT|
|Updated:||Jun 24, 2010 8:31 AM EDT|
SARGODHA, Pakistan (AP) - Five American men were convicted
Thursday on terror charges by a Pakistani court and sentenced to 10
years in prison in a case that heightened concerns about Westerners
traveling to Pakistan to contact al-Qaida and other Islamist
The trial of the young Muslim men from the Washington, D.C.,
area was sensitive for the U.S., which has a duty to insure justice
for its citizens but also has pushed Pakistan to crack down on
The men were arrested in Pakistan in December after their
families reported them missing. Prosecutors said e-mail records and
witness statements proved they were plotting terror attacks in
Pakistan and conspired to wage war against nations allied with it,
a reference to Afghanistan, where the men were alleged to have been
The judge handed down two prison terms for each man, one for 10
years and the other for five. A copy of the decision seen by The
Associated Press said the terms were to be served concurrently.
The men said nothing when the verdict was read out, Deputy
Prosecutor Rana Bakhtiar said.
The trial moved with unusual speed in a country where cases
often drag out for years and where terror convictions are rare and
often overturned on appeal. The trial was closed to journalists and
observers and was heard by a single judge in a special
The men have been identified as Ramy Zamzam of Egyptian descent,
Waqar Khan and Umar Farooq of Pakistani descent, and Aman Hassan
Yemer and Ahmed Minni of Ethiopian descent. One allegedly left
behind a farewell video in the United States showing scenes of war
and casualties and saying Muslims must be defended.
An attorney for the men said they would appeal the ruling to the
Lahore High Court.
"It was not a fit case for conviction," defense lawyer Hassan
Dastghir said. "I am confident that we will win the case at
American officials have said little in public about the trial,
and on Thursday, embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said only that
the U.S. respects the decision of the Pakistani courts.
Washington is trying to counter anti-American sentiment in
Pakistan's government, security forces and media, as it pushes
Islamabad to flush out the Taliban, al-Qaida and other militant
networks who use its territory.