Pakistan Court OKs Holding Terror Suspects
LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) _ A Pakistani doctor suspected of links to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network made his first appearance in a special anti-terrorism court Monday along with his brother, and both were ordered held for another three days, police said.
Dr. Javed Ahmad, a naturalized American citizen, and his brother Ahmad Naveed Khawaja, a naturalized Canadian, were arrested Thursday by Pakistani police and FBI agents along with seven other family members in a raid on their home in the eastern city of Lahore.
Five of the men are still being held on suspicion of having links to al-Qaida. The court set another hearing for the men on Dec. 26.
Police have released four members of Ahmad’s family arrested in the raid. The other three in custody were not present at Monday’s court hearing.
Under an anti-terror law that went into effect in November, authorities can detain suspects for up to a year without charge with court approval.
The arrest of Ahmad _ the second physician detained this year on suspicion of having links to al-Qaida _ has sparked protests among some who object to the FBI’s presence in Pakistan.
Ahmad’s lawyer, Inayat Pervez Malik, said he will challenge the detentions.
``I have filed a motion before the judge asking for the release of all the detained members of Ahmad’s family,″ Malik said. He said anti-terrorism judge Mahmud Maqbool Bajwa would rule on the motion at the Dec. 26 hearing.
Pakistani investigators say they need more time to determine whether the five have links to al-Qaida or to Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban regime.
The four who were released on Friday said they had been questioned, by people they believed were American and possibly FBI agents, about whether they knew bin Laden’s whereabouts.
During the raid on Ahmad’s house, the FBI reportedly seized four computers and CDs.
Those who were arrested in the raid include Ahmad, his two sons, two brothers, three nephews and an uncle. Ahmad and his two sons, Umar Karar and Khyzer Ali, are naturalized Americans and former Florida residents. Ahmad lived in the United States between 1972 and 1983. His sons returned to Pakistan several years earlier.
About 400 lawyers staged a protest demonstration Monday in the northwestern city of Peshawar, asking the government to expel FBI agents from Pakistan immediately and guarantee the legal rights of Pakistanis.
``The FBI agents have no right to arrest our people, and all those arrested with Dr. Javed Ahmad should be released without any delay,″ Sher Afgan Khatak, the leader of a local lawyers association, told the rally.
``The government should expel these FBI agents from Pakistan,″ Khatak said.
Also Monday, a group of students and 150 members of the radical Islamic group Jamaat-e-Islami staged a protest in the city of Multan, in the eastern province of Punjab, to call for the release of Ahmad and his family members.