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Five Americans in Pakistan Allege Torture

VOA News 18 January 2010

Detained American Muslims, center, are escorted by Pakistan police officers after appearing in anti-terrorist court in Sargodha, 4 Jan 2010

Five young Americans arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of trying to join militant Islamist groups allege they are being tortured in custody.

The five, who appeared in court Monday, shouted in English, "We are being tortured," as they were transferred in a prison van.

Pakistani police say they are not mistreating the prisoners, and a police official said the men did not make such statements in the courtroom.

The young Americans, between the ages of 19 and 25, are being held in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province. They were arrested in Sargodha at the home of a leader of the banned militant group Jaish-e-Muhammad in December.

They face lengthy prison terms if found guilty.

Pakistani police say the men said they traveled to the country to join a holy war and were planning to travel to the Taliban stronghold in North Waziristan.

After searching the suspects' computers, maps and e-mail messages, the district police chief told VOA the evidence indicates "that they were about to commit some serious crime."

U.S. FBI agents confirmed the arrested men are from the Washington area.

The five Americans are said to be of Pakistani, Yemeni, Eritrean and Egyptian origin.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.



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