Five young Muslim American men who went missing from Virginia in November and were arrested the following month in Pakistan were indicted on terrorism charges Wednesday. The accused claim they were tortured in custody and deny that they were trying to align themselves with al-Qaida-affiliated groups, according to the BBC. –KA


“All these charges are terrorism related. The offences are punishable by life imprisonment. All the accused unanimously rejected them,” AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

A second defence lawyer, Hasan Dastagir, told Associated Press: “My clients were in good shape and high spirits.”

He said the next hearing would be on 31 March and that prosecutors would produce more than 20 witnesses.

Mr Dastagir said the defence would present evidence of the men’s community service in the US, as well as witnesses from there.

Charges against the five young Muslims include “planning to carry out attacks against Pakistan and its allied countries, possessing jihadi literature and making monetary contribution to banned organisations,” Nadim Akram Cheema, a government prosecutor, told the BBC Urdu service.

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