Five Americans convicted of ‘terror plot’ in Pakistan

A Pakistan court has sentenced five US men to 10 years in jail after being found guility of terrorism charges.

Five American men who were arrested in the north-eastern city of Sargodha last December have each been convicted of conspiring to commit terrorist attacks in Pakistan, and of funding banned jihadist groups.

The case involving the men – aged between 19 and 25 – is one example of several cases involving alleged ‘home grown’ American Muslim militants linked to Pakistan.

Two of the men in question are Pakistan-Americans, the other three are reportedly of Eritrean, Ethiopian and Egyptian origin.

The group alarmed friends and family when they mysteriously disappeared from the US state of Virginia last November, leaving a farewell video message in their wake.

The footage is said to have shown scenes of the war and calls for Muslims to be defended.

According to investigators, the students, who were arrested just days after arriving in Pakistan, were planning to travel to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban. But they denied any links to the al-Qaeda, insisting their work was charity related.

They went on to accuse the US FBI and Pakistan police of torturing them and trying to frame them. Officials denied the accusations.

A correspondent for the BBC has reported that these convictions are by no means the final word, and that Pakistani anti-terrorism courts often have their convictions overturned by higher courts because of lack of conclusive evidence.

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