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Five Americans jailed for contacting insurgents

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2010-06-24

A Pakistani court sentenced five American students to 10 years in jail each on Thursday, after finding them guilty of contacting local militants over the Internet and plotting terrorist attacks. The students were arrested in Sargodha last December.

REUTERS - A Pakistani court on Thursday sentenced five American students accused of contacting militants in Pakistan over the Internet and plotting terrorist attacks to 10 years each in prison, the deputy prosecutor said.

The students, in their 20s, were detained in December in Pakistan’s central city of Sargodha, 190 km (120 miles) southeast of Islamabad.

Deputy Prosecutor Rana Bakhtiar said the men were convicted on two counts each, with one carrying a 10-year sentence and the other carrying five years, to be served concurrently. They were also fined a total of 70,000 rupees ($821).

“Both these sentences will begin concurrently and in practice they will spend 10 years in jail. We will appeal in the high court to enhance the sentence,” Bakhtiar told reporters.

The five men told the court earlier that they only wanted to provide fellow Muslim brothers in Afghanistan with medicine and financial help, and accused the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and Pakistani police of torturing them and trying to frame them.

Two of the five are of Pakistani origin. The others are from Egyptian, Yemeni and Eritrean origins.

The students were arrested days after arriving in Pakistan last year.

Pakistani police said emails showed they contacted militants, who had planned to use them for attacks in Pakistan.

Date created : 2010-06-24

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