Sun, Oct 19, 2008 - Page 5 News List

Pakistani judges prolong detention for US citizen


A Pakistani judge extended the detention of a US citizen who police say was caught entering a militant-infested region near the Afghan border.

Also on Friday, Pakistani security forces said they found one of two Chinese telecommunications engineers kidnapped by Taliban militants in August, one in a series of high-profile kidnappings in the restive border region in recent months.

Pakistani Judge Nasrullah Khan granted police two more days to question the 20-year-old US citizen, who has been identified as Jude Kenan. Police had sought an extra week.

Police had brought Kenan to the court in a town in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province in handcuffs. The bearded suspect was dressed in the long shirt and baggy trousers worn by many Pakistani men.

Police detained Kenan on Monday at a checkpoint leading into Mohmand, a tribal region considered a haunt of al-Qaeda and Taliban militants. Officials said he lacked the permission required for foreigners to enter the tribal belt.

Inside the courtroom, local police chief Qayyum Khan said officers wanted to know what motivated the man to come to the region. However, he gave no indication they suspected him of links with militants.

“We need more time to interrogate him to know the purpose of his presence” in the region, Khan said.

After the brief hearing, a reporter tried to talk to Kenan. The suspect seemed ready to speak, but police quickly put Kenan in a vehicle and drove him away.

US consular officials in Pakistan have visited Kenan and are providing him with consular assistance. The US embassy has given few other details, citing privacy concerns.

Kenan’s uncle, Evan Risueno, has said his nephew left for Pakistan on Oct. 3 from Raleigh, North Carolina, and that he planned to visit his father, who is Pakistani, and two sisters who live in Pakistan.

Risueno said Kenan had visited Pakistan before without encountering any problems.

Pakistan is a key ally of the US and it has handed over hundreds of suspected foreign militants to Washington after capturing them from various parts of the country since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

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