Pakistan Won’t Extradite al-Qaida Suspects
LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) _ A Pakistani court issued an order Tuesday blocking the extradition of three al-Qaida suspects arrested in a joint raid by local authorities and the FBI.
The court also ordered prosecutors to explain the charges on which the men are being held.
The ruling by the Lahore High Court came in response to a motion filed by lawyers for two naturalized Americans and one Canadian arrested with six relatives in a raid Thursday.
While no extradition warrant has been issued yet against the men, Pakistan has extradited other terror suspects to the United States over the last year. Thursday’s raid has sparked a series of protests in the eastern city of Lahore against the involvement of FBI agents.
The two Americans, identified as Umer Karar Khawaja and Khyzer Ali Khawaja, and the Canadian, Usman Khawaja, are in custody and being questioned about suspected links with the al-Qaida terrorist network, said Prosecutor Maqbool Elahi Malik.
The presiding judge set a hearing for Dec. 27 for prosecutors to detail the charges against the three men and four other relatives who remain in custody following the raid.
Previously, police said the raid was part of an investigation concerning suspected weapons smuggling for terrorist attacks.
The relatives in custody include Dr. Javed Ahmad, a U.S. citizen and prominent physician in Pakistan.
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.
On Tuesday, a group of legislators staged a peaceful demonstration outside the Punjab province Assembly building in Lahore to protest Ahmad’s arrest.