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Indian-American charged with aiding Hezbollah pleads not guilty

October 29, 2009 15:39 IST
An Indian national charged with attempting to provide material support to Lebanon's Hezbollah, a US designated foreign terrorist group, and illegally possessing fire arms and ammunition has pleaded not guilty.

Patrick Nayyar was residing illegally in Queens in New York and was arrested on September 24 from his residence based on a criminal complaint charging him with possessing a firearm and ammunition as an illegal alien.

Nayyar's lawyer Martin Schmukler has called the case 'overblown' and stated that his client was not living in the country illegally.

The 45-year-old Indian, who was indicted on Wednesday by a Manhattan court, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

According to the indictment, Nayyar along with his accomplice Conrad Stanisclaus Mulholland agreed to provide weapons, ammunition and vehicles to Hezbollah.

Schmukler said Nayyar currently lives in Flushing, Queens with his wife and two children in a building, where he works as a superintendent.

Nayyar's so-called accomplice Mulholland, who hails fron Britain and has also been charged by the court, has not yet been arrested and is reported to be in the UK.

Nayyar and Mulholland provided the confidential informant working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who represented himself as working for Hezbollah, with a handgun, a box of ammunition and a pick-up truck, believing that he would deliver the items to the Lebanese group, the indictment said.

The local newspapers reported that on one day in August, Nayyar told his mother who lives in the same building to bring a gun from her bedroom to show an informant. The woman left the room and returned with a black handgun.

The weapon was handed over to the informant along with a box of ammunition and in return Nayyar received $ 1,000.

Nayyar is being held without bail and his next court hearing will be on November 3. If convicted he faces up to 80 years in prison.

Betwa Sharma in New York
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