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Last Updated: Friday, 10 March 2006, 18:36 GMT
Pakistan 'clears militant medics'
Dr Akmal Waheed
Dr Akmal Waheed (left) and his brother were jailed in 2005
A court in Pakistan has ordered the release of two doctors jailed for seven years for aiding al-Qaeda, lawyers say.

Brothers Akmal and Arshad Waheed were convicted in March 2005 of sheltering militants and raising funds for them.

Defence lawyer Ilyas Khan said the High Court of Sindh had suspended the verdict of an anti-terrorist court.

The pair have now been detained for 30 days under public order laws by the Sindh provincial government, the BBC's Idrees Bakhtiar in Karachi says.

Mr Khan said the prosecution had "miserably failed" to prove charges against his clients.

Appeal possible

Iqtidar Ali Hashmi, a public prosecutor, said the government could appeal against the court's decision.

"We are reviewing the court order and will take a decision on filing an appeal very soon," Mr Hashmi said.

The brothers were originally held following the arrest of militants from a group called Jundallah, after an assassination attempt on a senior Pakistani general.

They were accused of providing support to al-Qaeda followers, as well as giving medical aid to a wounded militant.

"Our only sin was that we provided medical relief to the war-stricken Afghans. We have no regrets. We are proud," Dr Akmal Waheed told reporters at the time of his sentencing.

"What we did was an obligation of our professional duties," AFP news agency quoted him saying.

"We are doctors and we are duty bound to provide medical help to injured people."


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