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Taliban-linked cleric faces terrorism charges

August 03, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Pakistani authorities have filed charges against a cleric who helped negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban in the Swat Valley. The deal failed and the charges suggest the government will not negotiate again with the militants.

Sufi Mohammed, father-in-law of Swat's notorious Taliban leader, Maulana Qazi Fazlullah, is accused of aiding terrorism, sedition and conspiring against the government, Swat Police Chief Sajid Mohmand said. The charges carry a minimum penalty of life imprisonment and a maximum of death.

The case could be a way to pressure Mohammed to reveal any information he has about Taliban leaders who escaped a three-month offensive. The offensive is winding down, and hundreds of thousands of the 2 million residents who fled have returned.

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