Community leaders call for release of terror suspects
Islamic and Pakistani community leaders in Catalonia have called for the release of 14 South Asians arrested at the weekend.23 January 2008
MADRID - Islamic and Pakistani community leaders in Catalonia have called for the release of 14 South Asians arrested at the weekend on charges of terrorism, arguing that all are "innocent."
"They practiced Islam with friends and acquaintances. They have no connection with any sort of terrorism," Afzal Ahmed, the president of the Federation of Pakistanis of Barcelona, told reporters in a press conference yesterday.
Joined by representatives of the Islamic Council of Catalonia, Ahmed criticised the way the police had handled the raid on the unauthorised prayer hall in Barcelona's Raval district on Friday night where the 12 Pakistani and two Indian nationals were taken into custody. He noted that officers had thrown a copy of the Koran on the floor, showing a "lack of respect" for the suspects' religion.
The suspects, who police believe were planning to carry out attacks in Spain or another West European country and who were in possession of timers and a small quantity of explosive, are due to give testimony before a judge today.
[Copyright EL PAÍS 2008]
Subject: Spanish news