Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pakistan acquits men charged with aiding Times Square bomber

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Saturday acquitted four men who had been charged with helping a Pakistani-American man carry out a failed attempt to detonate a truck bomb in New York's Time Square, said their lawyer and family members.

The four were arrested in the wake of Faisal Shahzad's May 2010 attack, which fizzled when the explosives in his vehicle produced smoke but no blast. Shahzad has pleaded guilty and admitted to getting training from the Pakistani Taliban in the country's tribal region along the Afghan border. He was sentenced to life in prison in the U.S.

The attempted attack increased tension between Pakistan and the United States, which has long accused Islamabad of not doing enough to crack down on militants on its soil who pose a threat to the West.

Even though the men acquitted Saturday had been in custody for two years, very few details had emerged about their closed-door trial in an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi, next to the capital Islamabad.

Such trials rarely produce convictions in Pakistan because police often lack basic investigative skills, prosecutors lack training in terror cases and judges and witnesses are often subject to intimidation. Read More