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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 1 April, 2003, 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK
Karachi bomb suspects indicted
By Idrees Bakhtiar
BBC correspondent in Karachi

An anti-terrorism court in Karachi has indicted two men for a suicide car bomb attack on a Pakistan Navy bus last year.

Wounded French technician (C) being helped after blast
Karachi has been the centre of several attacks recently
Asif Zaheer and Rizwan Bashir appeared before the court on Tuesday.

The two men are accused of planning a car bomb attack last year outside the Sheraton hotel in which 14 people - 11 of them French engineers - were killed.

Both the accused men deny the charges and have pleaded not guilty.

Five other people wanted in connection with the attack - three of whom have not been identified - are still at large.

The case continues on Thursday when the prosecution presents its witnesses.

Accused

The men are charged with carrying out a suicide car-bomb attack on a Pakistan Navy bus on 8 May 2002.

They were arrested a few months ago and accused of murder, attempted murder, use of explosives to carry out terrorism and conspiracy to carry out terrorism.

The trial is being conducted inside Karachi central prison, with the public and journalists barred from entering.

The police claim that Asif Zaheer and Rizwan Bashir belong to the militant organisations, Harkat-e-Jihad-e-Islami and Harkatul Mujahadeen respectively.

Both organisations have been banned by the government.

Their trial was delayed several times on various "technical" and procedural grounds.

The French engineers were naval technicians were helping the Pakistani Navy to build its second Agosta 90-B submarine.

Last June, 12 people died in an attack on the US consulate in the city and in February two policemen were killed in a gun attack outside the consulate.

In December, three people were killed in an attack at the Macedonian consulate.


SEE ALSO:
Karachi bomb suspects in court
10 Mar 03  |  South Asia
Karachi bomb suspect held
15 Jan 03  |  South Asia
Violence erupts at Pakistan funeral
23 Feb 03  |  South Asia
Karachi: Volatile metropolis
12 Sep 02  |  South Asia


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