Pakistani court sets date for bail plea of US terror suspect

By , on October 11, 2017


FILE: Pakistan flag (Photo: openDemocracy/Flickr)
FILE: Pakistan flag (Photo: openDemocracy/Flickr)

ISLAMABAD — A Pakistani court will hear the bail plea later this week of an American citizen of Pakistani origin awaiting extradition to the United States for seeking to take part in an Islamic State group attack in New York City, the suspect’s lawyer said on Tuesday.

Talha Haroon was arrested in Pakistan in November 2016. The 19-year-old is one of three IS sympathizers who plotted to cause bloodshed in New York before U.S. agents thwarted the plot, the U.S. authorities have said.

Haroon’s defence lawyer Idrees Ashraf said Judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqi of Islamabad High Court on Tuesday asked for a response from the Interior Ministry in Haroon’s plea and set the next hearing for Friday.

Ashraf said his client’s father, Haroon Rashid, previously obtained a stay of his son’s extradition from the same court. Rashid earlier claimed his son is innocent and would be in danger if sent to the United States.

Haroon’s extradition was approved by a district magistrate in January.

U.S. federal law enforcement officials said earlier they disrupted the plot which targeted New York City locations, including concert venues, subway stations and Times Square. Prosecutors announced that three men — based in Canada, Pakistan and the Philippines — had conspired in the summer of 2016 in the name of the Islamic State.

According to prosecutors, 19-year-old Canadian citizen, Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, bought materials to make a bomb but was arrested after travelling from Canada to New Jersey in May of 2016. Thirty-seven-year-old Russell Salic was arrested in the Philippines in April.

The suspect in Pakistan was identified as Haroon, who wanted to join El Bahnasawy in New York City for the attacks, authorities said.

IS has claimed responsibility for several deadly attacks across Pakistan though Islamabad insists the militant group has no organized network in the country.