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India Charges, Frees Suspect

April 10, 2002|Associated Press

BOMBAY, India — A suspected member of Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network was formally charged Tuesday with waging war against India, an offense punishable by death, and then freed on bail because of a technicality.

Indian police claim that Mohammed Afroz, a pilot from the Bombay area, confessed to being part of an Al Qaeda plan to hijack a plane and crash it into the British Parliament in London. He also reportedly told investigators that he was planning to attack buildings in Australia and the Indian capital, New Delhi.

Afroz, who had been detained since Oct. 2, was formally charged with waging war against India's government and conspiring to commit an offense against the state.

Although the charges do not allow for bail, a judge ordered Afroz, 26, freed on $2,000 bail because he had been held illegally for more than six months, said his lawyer, Mobil Solkar.

Afroz was told to appear in court April 24 to hear the charges against him. No date for a trial has been set.

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