Pakistani is charged in Chile for explosives, not terror | world | Hindustan Times
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Pakistani is charged in Chile for explosives, not terror

A Pakistani who was charged on Saturday with illegal explosives possession was set free pending the investigation, but may not leave Chile and must check in with a judge every two weeks, a court source said.

world Updated: May 16, 2010 08:46 IST

A Pakistani who was charged on Saturday with illegal explosives possession was set free pending the investigation, but may not leave Chile and must check in with a judge every two weeks, a court source said.

Mauhannas Saif ur Rehnab, 28, had been detained since Monday under terms of Chile's anti-terror law after officials detected traces of TNT on him when he visited the US embassy in Santiago.

On Saturday however he was not charged with violating the anti-terrorism law.

Rehnab, an intern at a Santiago hotel, had gone to the embassy after being called in for a discussion about his US visa, which had been revoked.

As he went through a security check, embassy officials discovered traces of a TNT explosive on his hands, cell phone, bag and documents.

He appeared before a magistrate Saturday in a closed hearing requested by a Chilean rights group seeking his release.

"He was charged with illegal possession of explosives, but not with breaking the anti-terror law," a court source told AFP.

Then "he was released, but while the investigation is under way, ahead of a final ruling, he must appear before a judge to sign in every two weeks, and he may not leave the country," the source added.

Rehnab's fate has stirred controversy in Chile, with leftist opposition members complaining that he had been held without charge, although under the provisions of the anti-terror law this is legal.

The top Pakistani diplomat here argued there was no solid evidence against Rehnab.

Opposition lawmaker Alejandro Navarro said he had learned from the interior ministry that the suspect's parents would receive visas and would arrive in Chile on Monday.

And the government said it wanted an appeal of his release.

"We would have liked to see this person remain in preventive detention," said Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter. "We don't believe that his checking in and not leaving the country is sufficient, so we do expect that public prosecutors will appeal."

Chile meanwhile on Friday asked the United States to interview US embassy guards in the case.

Rehnab's detention came a week after the arrest in New York of Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized American born in Pakistan, who US authorities accuse of having planted a car bomb on May 1 in Times Square.

It failed to explode, and Shahzad was arrested as he tried to leave the United States on a flight to Dubai.