Pakistan Acquits 4 Men in Times Square Bomb Plot
By Reza Sayah for CNN
A Pakistani court has acquitted four men accused of taking part in a botched 2010 plot to detonate a bomb in New York’s Times Square.
Attorney Muhammad Imran Safdar said his client, Humbal Akhtar, and three others were acquitted Saturday: Muhammad Shouaib Mughal, Shahid Hussain and Faisal Abbasi.
The latter remains in custody to face charges on a separate case, the lawyer said. He did not provide additional information about the other case.
The four were accused of assisting Faisal Shahzad, who tried to explode a car bomb in Times Square on May 1, 2010. The bomb failed to detonate.
Prosecutors said Shahzad carefully selected a highly populated target and intended to strike again if he wasn’t caught the first time.
He was arrested two days later in New York while trying to leave the country on a flight bound for Pakistan.
Shahzad pleaded guilty and admitted to getting training from the Taliban, and was sentenced to life in prison in October 2010.
Akhtar welcomed the acquittal, his lawyer said.
“He hugged me and thanked me for my efforts,” Safdar said. “He was so happy and relieved. It’s been a tough time for them but this was a day of liberty for them.”
His wife said he was resting at home and enjoying his time back with his three children.
“We said in the beginning, all these allegations were fabricated. Now it’s been proven in court,” said Rahila Humbal, the wife. “Thank God … justice prevailed.”
Authorities had accused the four of providing financial and logistical support to Shahzad, which they denied.
The lawyer said the case against the men was weak and blamed what he described as a deficient Pakistani court system for dragging out the hearing for nearly two years.
“These men are law abiding citizens. They would never imagine doing what they were accused of,” he said.
Pakistan’s anti-terrorism courts are closed off to the public. Despite the charges, the government never made public any evidence that linked the four men to the plot.
Pakistanis for Peace Editor’s Note– Another sign that Pakistan does not see the fight against terror as its fight also but rather the US’s alone.