U.S. Consulate Bombing Trial Opens
Aug. 24, 2002
%mlink(STRY:; PHOTO:; AUDIO:%)
KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) _ The trial of three militants accused in the car-bombing of the U.S. consulate, which killed 12 Pakistanis and injuring 50 people, opened Saturday with testimony from a police officer.
Deputy Inspector Ali Gauher Soomro was the first of a list of 50 witnesses to take the stand. He testified that the bombing occurred at 11:15 a.m. on June 14. Soomro was hit in the shoulder by flying debris caused by the blast. He said that 18 vehicles were damaged by the blast, but he could not identify which car contained the bomb.
The defendants, Mohammed Imran, Mohammed Hanif and Mohammed Ashraf are charged with conspiracy, murder and terrorism in the car-bombing. All the charges carry the death penalty.
Police allege the three are members of the outlawed militant organization Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen al-Almi, an offshoot of a major militant group fighting the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir.
For security reasons, the proceedings are taking place inside a secured room of the heavily guarded Central Prison in Karachi where the defendants are detained.
The trial will resume on Wednesday.
The three men, along with a Pakistani paramilitary ranger, are also suspected of plotting an assassination attempt against President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. A court hearing on that case is scheduled for next Saturday.