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Fla. imams seek testimony in Pakistan

Oct. 22, 2012 at 2:29 PM

MIAMI, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Father and son Muslim imams in Florida are seeking to depose witnesses in their native Pakistan in support of their defense of federal terrorism charges.

Lawyers for Hafiz and Izhar Khan, Muslim clerics charged with providing financial support to the Taliban in western Pakistan, said depositions from family and other witnesses in Pakistan would support their clients' claims the money they sent to Pakistan was to build schools and help destitute family members, not support the Taliban. The witnesses, The Miami Herald reported Sunday, either don't want to or can't afford to travel to the United States to be part of the Miami-based trial.

A judge already ruled out deposing the witnesses at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad for security threats to the prosecutors who would have to travel to potentially hostile territory for the depositions.

This time, defense lawyers asked if the witnesses could be deposed via live video from a hotel. U.S. District Judge Robert Scola didn't rule out the request saying the family members' testimony could prove relevant at trial. A final hearing on the matter is set for Friday.

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