ISLAMABAD, Aug 20: A man accused of using his computer skills to help Al Qaeda has been released after three years in custody, a government official and the man’s lawyer said on Monday.
Officials have said that information from freed suspect Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan quickly led them to a Tanzanian wanted for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in East Africa, which killed more than 200 people.
Khan, who was captured in Lahore in July 2004, has also been linked with terror plots in the US and Britain, and to the arrests of suspects in Britain.
Deputy Attorney-General Naheeda Mehboob Ilahi said in the Supreme Court on Monday that Khan, believed to be in his late 20s, had been released and had returned to his home in Karachi.
Khan’s lawyer Babar Awan confirmed that his client had returned to his family but said he had not been able to speak to him to ask where he had been held, and by whom.
Mr Awan said Khan had never been charged with any crime or brought before any court.
Khan, an engineering graduate, was suspected of being a point man who sent coded e-mails to Al Qaeda operatives possibly planning attacks in the United States, Britain and South Africa.
Twelve days after his arrest, authorities pounced in the city of Gujrat on Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who had a US$25 million bounty on him for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Information from those captured, including maps and photos found on their computers, helped prompt the US government to issue a warning about a possible Al Qaeda attack on financial institutions in New York and Washington.
Clues gained after Khan’s arrest helped British investigators nab Dhiren Barot, an Al Qaeda terrorist sentenced last year to life imprisonment.—AP