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US Presents Terrorism Charges Against British Man - 2004-08-06


A London court has ordered a British man held without bail after hearing details of a U.S. extradition warrant that links the suspect to Islamic terrorist movements in Chechnya and Afghanistan.

The suspect, 30-year-old Babar Ahmad, appeared in court Friday to hear charges that he used U.S. Internet sites to recruit supporters and raise funds for militant groups in Chechnya and Afghanistan.

Lawyers representing the United States told Judge Christopher Pratt that Mr. Ahmad accessed American-based Web sites to tell people how to donate money, or travel to Afghanistan to support the former Taleban rulers there.

Also, the lawyers say the suspect had e-mail links to the Chechen militants who seized a Moscow theater in 2002.

Judge Pratt ordered Mr. Ahmad held without bail, pending another court hearing in seven days.

The suspect's lawyer, Madaffar Adani, questioned the motives behind the extradition request, since her client already had been arrested once before as a suspected terrorist in December, but was released without charge.

"We are concerned in relation to this extradition request that has been made by America," said Ms. Adani. "It appears that anybody who is arrested in this country in relation to terrorism offenses, and there is not sufficient evidence to prosecute those individuals, that those individuals' extraditions are being sought by America."

The Ahmad arrest is just part of a hectic week for British anti-terrorist police. Authorities in London continue to question 12 men arrested Tuesday under Britain's counter-terrorism law.

Media reports say one of those held directed al-Qaida surveillance of major U.S. financial institutions, in a plot discovered in Pakistan, and which prompted this week's elevation of the U.S. security alert.

British police have not commented on those reports as they pursue their investigation. A judge has given police until Sunday to continue the interrogations.

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