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Last Updated: Friday, 8 August, 2003, 20:51 GMT 21:51 UK
Pakistani on US al-Qaeda charge
Uzair Paracha
Paracha appeared in a Manhattan court on Friday
A Pakistani man has been charged in the United States with conspiring to provide material support and resources to the al-Qaeda organisation.

Uzair Paracha, 23, has been held in detention as a material witness since his arrest in a New York textile office in March.

He is accused of trying to help an al-Qaeda operative obtain documentation to enter the country and gain legal immigrant status.

On Thursday, his mother, Farhat Paracha, said from her home in Karachi that her son had only gone to America on a business trip and was innocent.

Prosecutors allege the al-Qaeda associate met Mr Paracha in Pakistan.

Mr Paracha was asked to pose as the operative to obtain the documentation, they claim.

The second man has not entered the US.

Driving licence

Mr Paracha, who has permanent resident alien status in the United States, appeared in the US District Court in Manhattan on Friday.

He smiled, and waved to a dozen family members as he arrived at the court for a brief hearing.

He was ordered to be detained until a bail hearing next week.

Prosecutors say Mr Paracha was found with a Maryland driving licence and a bank ATM card in the al-Qaeda associate's name.

If convicted, Mr Paracha faces up to 15 years in prison.

"This case demonstrates that al-Qaeda will go to great lengths to enlist support here in the United States," said US Attorney-General John Ashcroft in a statement.

"Our efforts are focused on identifying and dismantling those rings of support on which our terrorist enemies seek to rely."


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