Former student pleads ‘not-guilty’ to terrorism charges

by   Posted on March 25th, 2010 in Uncategorized

By Sonya Hudson, Managing Editor

A one-time George Mason University student studying accounting, Umar Farooq Chaudhry was one of the five Northern Virginian men charged by Pakistani authorities on accounts of terrorism-related crimes last Wednesday. The five men were arrested in Pakistan in December according to the Associated Press.

Chaudhry, born in 1985 in Sargodha, Pakistan, was reported by the university to not have been taking classes at Mason at the time of his arrest.

“He was not a student here taking classes at the time this thing happened,” said Dan Walsch, the university press secretary.
Walsch explained that the university did not have prior knowledge of Chaudhry’s arrest.

Chaudhry and the four other men, all Muslim between the ages of 18 and 24, pleaded “not-guilty” to five counts of terrorism-related crimes, which included planning attacks on Afghan and United States territory, according to the Associated Press.

Prosecutors and the Pakistani police describe these men as “hardened jihadists” whereas the defense portrays them as humanitarians who traveled to Afghanistan to aid the Muslims who had been displaced by the war.

The trial is scheduled for March 31 in Sargodha, the birthplace of Chaudhry, before a judge, as Pakistan does not have jury trials.
The men are still detained in Pakistani prison awaiting their trial.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>