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Pak arrests another 26/11 suspect; trial adjourned

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
August 29, 2009 20:37 IST
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Pakistani authorities have arrested another suspect in the Mumbai terror attacks case, as the anti-terror court conducting the trial of the five accused Lashkar-e-Tayiba operatives on Saturday adjourned the hearing till September 5.

Sources said a newly-arrested suspect, identified only as Yunus, was produced in the court today by the Federal Investigation Agency, which is probing the Mumbai attacks. The judge remanded Yunus to police custody for 10 days. Shahbaz Rajput, a lawyer representing some of the accused, told PTI that Judge Baqir Ali Rana had adjourned the case till September 5 for the completion of certain legal formalities.

Jamil Ahmed, another LeT-linked suspect who was arrested earlier this month for allegedly facilitating the Mumbai attacks, too was produced in the court.

The judge ordered the FIA to submit his complete records. Ahmed's bail petition was put off by the court till September 1, sources said. The five LeT operatives being tried by the anti-terrorism court are operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, communications expert Zarar Shah, Abu al-Qama, Hamad Amin Sadiq and Shahid Jamil Riaz.

Journalists were barred from being present during the proceedings and the blackout created confusion this morning. Earlier, reports had said that the hearing was adjourned till September 1.

The LeT operatives have been charged under the Pakistan Penal Code, Anti-Terrorism Act and a cyber crimes law. They have been accused of providing training, financial support, accommodation, equipment and communications gear to the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai in November last year.

Earlier, Judge Rana, who is conducting the trial in the high-security Adiala Jail in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, ordered a blackout on media coverage of the proceedings, citing national security concerns.

Though the order itself was not made public, sources told PTI that it stated that the proceedings would be kept totally secret and 'not published' in any manner as the case had implications for national security and national interests. The order said the media blackout was also necessary for the security of witnesses and the judge.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad