Pak Qaeda suspects denied bail

LONDON: Five Pakistani men arrested in a major anti-terror swoop in Britain were denied bail due to a series of emails which could have implicated them in an Al-Qaeda plot, a judge revealed Friday.

The five were among 12 men -- 11 Pakistanis and one Briton -- who were arrested in raids in April but not subsequently charged with any criminal offences.

Along with two other men who did not apply for bail, the five are challenging attempts by the British government to deport them on the grounds that they posed a threat to national security.

The five were denied bail at a hearing of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) at the end of last month -- the reasons for which were revealed Friday.

Judge John Mitting said a string of emails exchanged between an address attributed to one of the men -- identified only as XC -- and another attributed to an Al-Qaeda associate were "central to the open case of the appellants".

The emails XC sent to "Sohaib" seemed to refer to a "nikah", or wedding, but the security services believe otherwise.

"They appear to refer to XC's interest in named girls and to a nikah after 15th and before 20th April 2009 with one of them, Nadia," Mitting said in a written statement.

"The assessment of the Security Service is that references to named girls could be to ingredients from which an explosive device could be made and that the reference to the nikah is 'most likely' reference to an intended attack."

The judge said the final interpretation of the emails would have to wait until a full SIAC hearing next year.