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Accused Pakistan Taliban backer denied bail

world Updated: Aug 08, 2011 22:52 IST

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A US federal judge has denied bail for the son of a Florida imam arrested on charges of financing and supporting the Pakistani Taliban.

US prosecutors have charged Irfan Khan, 37, along with his father and brother, who is also an imam at another Florida mosque, with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.

The three Pakistani-born US citizens were arrested in May and are among six people indicted on charges they conspired to transfer about $50,000 and provide other support for the Pakistani Taliban, which the US government considers a terrorist organization.

In a ruling late on Friday, Judge Adalberto Jordan denied bail for Khan, saying he represented a flight risk. The judge had already rejected bail requests for the other two men.

Jordan said the evidence against Khan was "substantial" but not as strong as that against his father, Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, 76, who was an imam at the Miami Mosque at the time of his arrest.

All three men have pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted, the men face up to 15 years in prison for each count of the indictment.

Prosecutors say their arrests capped a three-year investigation into suspicious financial transactions and were based on recorded conversations and a trail of money moving from US bank accounts to Pakistan.

US officials allege the men, along with the others indicted, also supported the Pakistani Taliban through a madrasa, or Islamic school, in Swat, Pakistan.

The other three people charged in the case were living in Pakistan when the indictment was handed down and are believed to be still at large.