November 2009 Archives

Pakistan charges seven people over Mumbai attacks

BBC reported Wednesday that a court in Pakistan has charged seven people in connection with last year's attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai.

The alleged mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and the other suspects were charged under Pakistan's anti-terrorism act and criminal code. All seven have pleaded not guilty.

A total of 174 people, including nine gunmen, were killed in the attacks in November.

The attacks led India to suspend peace talks with Pakistan. In July Indian PM Manmohan Singh said talks would not restart until the Mumbai attacks suspects were brought to justice.

The only surviving attacker, Muhammed Ajmal Qasab, is currently facing trial in India.

The charges were read to the seven accused at a special anti-terrorist court set up inside the high security Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi where they are being held.

Those in Rawalpindi's anti-terrorism court were Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi , Shahid Jamil Riaz, Hammad Amin Sadiq, Mazhar Iqbal, Jamil Ahmed, Abdul Wajid and Younus Amjad.

Prosecutors say they are determined to bring convictions and secure the maximum sentence for those in the dock.

Following the attacks, Pakistan rounded up a number of suspects - among them the Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed, who spent some time in custody before being released due to lack of evidence. He has denied any involvement.

CNN reported Wednesday morning that the 13-year-old teenager spent 11 days in October wandering New York's subway system until a police officer recognized him from a missing persons' poster, according to police and the youth's mother.

Francisco Hernandez Jr., who has Asperger's syndrome, disappeared on October 15, after he thought he was in trouble at school, according to his mother, Marsiela Garcia.

Garcia told reporters that she contacted police when her son went missing, but didn't receive much help.

Garcia and her husband took matters into their own hands by posting missing persons' fliers around their neighborhood, public areas and even in the subway.

A transit officer found Francisco in the Coney Island section of New York after seeing the missing persons' fliers. He was returned home unharmed.

Garcia said her son wore the same clothes for 11 days, slept in subway cars and used the bathrooms in stations. He had $11 with him when he disappeared and she said he bought food in subway stations.

New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was asked about police actions in the case on Tuesday, during a news conference on other, unrelated subjects. He said proper protocol was followed to find the young man.

Minnesota Public Radio NewsQ reported Wednesday that officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized over 17,000 counterfeit items from Twin Cities-area businesses, with an estimated street value of $643,000.

ICE Special Agent Claude Arnold said consumers should be on the look out for counterfeit items, especially at this time of the year.

The counterfeit items range from brand name purses and perfumes to football jerseys with fake signatures from Joe Mauer and Brett Favre.

Industry and trade associations estimate that counterfeiting and piracy cost the U.S. economy between $200 billion and $250 billion per year, and more than 750,000 American jobs.

Two weeks ago ICE agents seized counterfeit purses, clothing and other items from businesses in Duluth.

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