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4 Pakistanis Convicted in Karachi Bombing - 2003-04-14


A Pakistani court has convicted four men on charges of murder and terrorism in last year's deadly car bombing outside the U.S. Consulate in Karachi.

A judge in the Karachi anti-terrorism court found four men guilty of masterminding the June 14 attack that killed 12 Pakistanis. Two defendants received the death penalty, two others will serve life sentences, and a fifth man was acquitted.

Prosecutors say those convicted of murder, conspiracy and terrorism are members of an extremist Muslim organization known as Harkat-ul Mujahideen al-Almi.

The group is on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations.

The militants packed a car with explosives and detonated it outside the U.S. Consulate in the port city of Karachi. The victims were passers-by and security officials outside the diplomatic mission.

Shortly after the verdicts were announced, defense lawyer Abdul Waheed Katpar told reporters he would file an appeal. He said during the trial he was able to prove that the evidence against the defendants was faulty.

"I am not satisfied with the decision," he said. "The case has been completely smashed into pieces" during the arguments.

Members of radical Islamic groups have carried out several deadly attacks in Pakistan during the past year, mainly targeting foreigners and minority Christians. These forces are believed to be angry over Pakistan's cooperation in the U.S.- led anti-terrorism efforts in neighboring Afghanistan.

Pakistani authorities have arrested a number of suspected militants in a crackdown on Islamic groups responsible for some of the attacks.

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