SARGODHA, Pakistan — Five Americans facing charges for allegedly plotting attacks against Pakistan and its allies alleged they were tortured in custody, as a Pakistani court on Monday extended their detention.
The five young men were arrested in December on suspicion of trying to contact Al-Qaeda-linked groups, with police officials accusing them of trying to travel to Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban against US and NATO troops.
"We are being tortured, we are being tortured," several of the men shouted in English from a prison van as it left a court in Sargodha town in eastern Pakistan after their hearing, which took place under tight security.
Jehangir Sarwar, a senior lawyer present in the courtroom, quoted one of the five men as complaining of "police excesses".
Sarwar, who was in the court as an observer and was not representing anyone, did not say which of the five men made the remark, while police officials denied that mistreatment was raised during the brief hearing.
"None of the five men said anything of the sort in the court. As far as I know, one of these men had a stomach problem," said Aamir Abbas, a local police official who worked on the case.
He said that the court extended judicial remand of the five men until February 2 when they will be produced again before the court.
Abbas added that police had also presented a list of charges spreading over 250 pages for the court's consideration.
He said the list contained new charges against the five men -- to attempt to commit an act of terror against allies of Pakistan and countries "which are not at war with us", although it did not name the countries.
The five men are already facing charges for allegedly plotting attacks in Pakistan, which could see them jailed for life.
At their last hearing on January 4, then men denied links to Al-Qaeda and told the court that they wanted to help Muslims in war-torn Afghanistan.
Pakistan has been fighting against the Taliban in northwest areas bordering Afghanistan.
The area is known as a training ground and haven for militants plotting attacks against foreign troops based in Afghanistan, and the United States is pressuring Islamabad to do more to monitor the porous frontier.
The suspects, who are all US citizens including two Pakistani-Americans, have also been questioned by the FBI.
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