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

extremist groups.

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

militancy.

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

traveling.

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

anti-terrorism court.

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

appeals level."

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.