A Pakistani court on Wednesday rejected bail applications for five Americans who allegedly traveled there last year to carry out jihad. The five Northern Virginia men, who were arrested in December on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks, are scheduled to appear in court again March 2.
Supporters of the suspects - Howard University dental student Ramy Zamzam; Eritrean native Ahmed Abdullah Minni; Aman Hassan Yemer, an Ethiopian; Waqar Khan; and Umar Chaudhry - claim they have been tortured in Pakistani custody. On Wednesday, one of the detainees tossed a piece of paper alleging abuse out of the window of their prison van. "We have been threatened to be tortured again if we continued to speak out the truth," the paper read. "Help us. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Prosecutors successfully argued that the men should remain in custody because Pakistan's laws do not allow bail for terror suspects accused of crimes carrying a prison sentence of longer than 10 years. Pakistani authorities said the five "were of the opinion that a jihad must be waged against the infidels for the atrocities committed by them against Muslims around the world."
The five Americans all said in their visa applications that they were going to a wedding in Karachi. But Pakistani police officials have said that the five had exchanged emails for months with a Taliban recruiter, who they contacted when they arrived in Pakistan November 30. The recruiter directed them to board a bus headed for jihadist havens in northwestern Pakistan. One of the men allegedly had a map in his sock and had circled a town in North Waziristan where Al Qaeda is based.
According to Pakistani security officials, the five bonded in jihad by watching YouTube video clips showing Taliban attacks in Afghanistan. Before leaving the United States, they appear to have come to the attention of a radical named Saifullah, who had links to Al Qaeda. Police said that after establishing Internet links with Saifullah, they planned their journey to North Waziristan, where they planned to train with the Taliban.
Read more about the American suspects in Pakistan here.