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Pakistani-born Terror Suspect Makes First US Court Appearance

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Abid Naseer, a 26-year-old Pakistani terror suspect, appeared in a federal court in New York City on Monday. Naseer pleaded not guilty to charges that he participated in an al-Qaida plot to bomb the city’s subway system.

U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie ordered Naseer held without bail at the end of his five-minute arraignment.

Naseer pleaded not guilty through his attorney. He faces charges that he was part of a plot to bomb New York City subways and terrorize cities in Britain and Europe. Naseer did not make a statement to the court and his court-appointed attorney, Steven Brounstein, declined to speak with reporters.

The British government extradited Naseer last week. He was arrested there in 2010.

Two other men have pleaded guilty in the United States to their role in the plot, another was convicted during a trial last year. U.S. prosecutors say that in 2008, al-Qaida leaders in Pakistan recruited three men then living in New York to commit suicide bombing attacks in the city.

Part of the legal procedure at this stage is called discovery -- the requirement that prosecutors turn over to defense lawyers key information about the case.

Steven Benjamin, a Richmond, Virginia attorney, is president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

“The government is required to turn over any information in its possession that may be materially favorable to the defense. They are also required by rule or by statute to turn over other certain types of information. For example, if there are any scientific tests that have been conducted, the government is required to disclose the results of those tests," he said.

Naseer is charged with providing and conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaida and conspiracy to use a destructive device in relation to the British part of the plot. He lived in Manchester, England, at the time. Prosecutor Loretta Lynch says Naseer “was instrumental in one tentacle of an international plot.”

Judge Dearie set March 7 for Naseer’s next court appearance.

Article by Larry Freund, VOA News