Pakistani Court Orders Brothers Released
LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) _ Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered a Pakistani-born American and his Canadian brother released on Saturday, several days after the two former terror suspects were found innocent of the last charges against them.
A three-judge panel of the Lahore bench of the Supreme Court ordered police to release American Ahmad Javed Khawaja and Canadian Ahmad Naveed Khawaja immediately. Prosecutors had sought to continue holding the men, despite their acquittal, under Pakistan’s tough anti-terrorism laws.
``Thank God it’s over. We have been facing a tough time,″ Ahmad Javed Khawaja told The Associated Press after the decision.
The brothers were taken back to jail for processing after the ruling and it was not clear exactly when the paperwork would be completed on their release.
The court’s decision cannot be appealed.
The Khawaja brothers and three other relatives were first arrested in December on charges of harboring al-Qaida suspects at their family compound on the outskirts of the eastern city of Lahore.
The three other relatives were acquitted earlier, and prosecutors dropped terrorism charges against Ahmad Javed Khawaja and Ahmad Naveed Khawaja in April. On Tuesday, the two men were found innocent of the last remaining charges _ possessing illegal weapons and resisting arrest.
Police arrested the Khawajas in December after a brief exchange of gun fire.
Ahmad Javed Khawaja is a gastroenterologist who lived in the United States from 1972 to 1983. His brother spent many years in Canada.