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Wednesday, 21 August, 2002, 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK
US consulate 'attackers' charged
Suspects Mohammad Hanif, left,  and Mohammad Imran Bhai at news conference
The trial is being held in jail for security reasons
An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has charged three men with the 14 June attack on the US consulate in Karachi which killed 12 people.


You are charged with attacking the US consulate on June 14, which killed 12 people

Judge Aale Maqbool Rizvi
The accused, who appeared handcuffed inside the makeshift court in the city's central prison, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder, terrorism and using explosives.

They are due to reappear in court on 24 August when the full trial will get underway, and statements from more than 50 witnesses will be recorded.

Along with a paramilitary policeman, they are also accused of attempting to assassinate Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf in April.

Police say the president survived because the alleged militants' car bomb failed to detonate as he was being driven past.

It is alleged the same vehicle was later used in the blast outside the US Karachi mission.

A number of foreign and Christian targets have been attacked in Pakistan in recent months.

The authorities blame Islamic extremists angry at the Pakistani Government's support for the US-led war on terror.

Splinter group

Car used in consulate attack
The consulate bomb killed 12 people
Those charged on Tuesday - Mohammad Ashraf, Mohammad Hanif, alias Ayub, and Mohammad Imran - are all from a splinter faction of the banned Harkat-ul Mujahideen extremist group, officials say.

They were arrested in July. At a news conference shortly afterwards two of them confessed to the plot to kill the president.

One of the three is also alleged to have admitted his involvement in planning a suicide attack outside the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi on 8 May.

Eleven French naval engineers and three Pakistanis were killed in that blast.

Waseem Akhtar, a Pakistani paramilitary Ranger official, is said to have provided the men with details of the president's movements when he visited Karachi during the April referendum campaign.

Mr Akhtar is not accused of any part in the consulate attack.

Musharraf's Pakistan

Democracy challenge

Militant threat

Background

TALKING POINT

FROM THE ARCHIVES

BBC WORLD SERVICE
See also:

09 Jul 02 | South Asia
29 Jun 02 | South Asia
15 Jun 02 | South Asia
13 Jan 02 | South Asia
10 Jul 02 | South Asia
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