They first said they had no regrets about plotting jihad against U.S. forces. Then they claimed they weren’t terrorists, but merely jihadists, and that the latter should be quite alright. Then they claimed to have just been joking. Then they claimed to have been tortured.
Next excuse: Ready… set… “American jihadi suspects ‘set up’ by police, say lawyers,” by Saeed Shah for the Guardian, April 11:
Police fabricated evidence to incriminate five Americans facing trial in Pakistan on terror charges, lawyers representing the men will argue in court this week.
The men, all Muslims, were arrested in December in the central town of Sargodha, and have been charged with planning terrorist acts in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US.
And the story keeps changing:
While the men admit wanting to travel to Afghanistan, they deny involvement in any jihadist activities and say they were planning to carry out “community work” in the country.
Defence lawyers will argue the men could not have made email contact with a Pakistani extremist linked to al-Qaida in the way the police claim.
According to the police’s own summary of the investigation submitted to the court, investigators discovered the email account which was allegedly used to make contact several days after police had briefed journalists on the messages.
Similarly, the police report describes the discovery of maps of alleged target sites and other incriminating evidence more than two weeks after they had already told media about their existence.
The defence will also call into question police claims about the date of the men’s arrest, which is several days after their widely reported detention on 9 December last year. Umer Farooq, 24, Waqar Hussain Khan, 22, Ramy Zamzam, 22, Ahmed Minni, 20, and Aman Hassan Yemer, 18, were charged under anti-terrorism laws.
Police say the group’s intended target was Chashma Barrage, a complex located near nuclear power facilities in Punjab that includes a water reservoir and other structures. […]
In a letter to Zamzam’s parents seen by the Guardian, the men, who allege they were beaten by police and deprived of sleep and food in custody, face life in prison if convicted on the most serious of the charges.Following the arrest of the men, on 10 and 11 December police gave on-the-record briefings to local and international media about a Yahoo email account used to communicate with a Pakistani extremist called Saifullah.
They also said at the time that maps and jihadi literature were found with the men. But according to the police report lodged with the anti-terrorism court in Sargodha, where the men are being tried, it was only on 17 December that the suspects disclosed “their secret email address along with password” – allowing the investigators to find the communication with Saifullah.
In the document, a copy of which was seen by the Guardian, the police say that they found the extremist literature and maps on 26 December.
Defence lawyer Hasan Dastagir alleges that police misrepresented the date of the men’s arrest in order to allow for inconsistencies in the evidence.
“By the ninth, the police had made up their mind what they were going to plant on these boys, because they had nothing on them,” said defence lawyer Hasan Dastagir Katchela. “There are going to be some massive surprises (in court).”
The trial of the men resumes this on Saturday, 17 April.