Formal terror-related charges have been filed against five D.C.-area men who disappeared last November, only to be arrested in Pakistan about a week later. The charges, which include conspiracy to commit terrorism in Pakistan and plotting attacks against a friendly country, could send the men to prison for life.
Howard University dental student Ramy Zamzam reportedly left behind a farewell video before the group left the country last fall. Reports from Pakistan indicate the men wanted to join Al Qaeda and planned to make their way to Afghanistan to fight American troops.
Attorneys for the five entered not guilty pleas. It is unclear when the trial would start, but the Washington Post reports it could take months and, under Pakistani legal procedures, may be closed to the public.
Zamzam has repeatedly claimed Pakistani officials have tortured him and his friends during questioning. But Zamzam has not denied that their ultimate objective was a violent one.
""We are not terrorists," he said outside of court in January. "We are jihadists, and jihad is not terrorism."
The Post report indicates that American law enforcement officials continue with their own investigation, but it is unclear whether charges would be brought here before the Pakistani case is resolved.