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Court Orders Bail for al-Qaida Suspect

March 25, 2003

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ A Pakistani court ordered the release on bail of a man arrested along with al-Qaida’s alleged No. 3 leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, but authorities said he would not be let go immediately because of paperwork and possible additional charges.

Ahmed Abdul Qadus has been in police custody since March 1, when security officials swooped in on his home in Rawalpindi, adjacent to the capital Islamabad. He was arrested along with Mohammed and alleged al-Qaida financier Mustafa al-Hisawai.

Qadus’ family has insisted he is innocent, and has said the al-Qaida men were never in their home.

Judge Syed Pervez Ali Shah ordered Qadus released on $1,730 bail, and Qadus’ defense lawyer, Mohammed Mudasser, told The Associated Press he would seek his client’s immediate release.

``We will go to the prison with the court order and see what they do″ Mudasser said.

Kokab Nadeem, the superintendent of Rawalpindi’s Adyala Jail, where Qadus is being held, said the suspect could not be released until paperwork is completed.

There is also the possibility the government could continue to hold Qadus on other charges, though officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Qadus has not yet been charged with terrorism, being held only on charges of sheltering a religious extremist. Under a recently enacted anti-terrorism law, police can hold a terror suspect for up to a year.

Pakistan, a key ally of the United States in the war on terror, has already handed over Mohammed and al-Hisawai to U.S. custody. They are being interrogated at an undisclosed location outside Pakistan.

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