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No bail for Florida imam accused of aiding Taliban

MIAMI (Reuters) - A federal judge in Miami denied bail on Tuesday to a young Muslim cleric arrested in May on charges of financing and supporting the Pakistani Taliban.

The judge cited flight risk and a potential threat to community safety in rejecting bail for Izhar Khan, 24, who has been charged along with his father and brother with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.

The three Pakistani-born U.S. citizens are among six charged in a U.S. indictment with "supporting acts of murder, kidnapping and maiming in Pakistan and elsewhere" carried out by the Pakistani Taliban, which Washington calls a terrorist organization.

Judge Adalberto Jordan said the evidence against the younger Khan, an imam at the Jamaat Al-Mu'mineen Mosque in Margate, Florida, was not as strong as that brought against his father, Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, 76.

But Jordan said the evidence was enough to justify his detention pending a trial in which he faces up to 15 years in prison for each count of the indictment against him.

Khan pleaded not guilty at his arraignment last month and a trial date has not been set.

"In general, the government has proffered recorded intercepted conversations and financial records demonstrating that, between 2008 and 2010, Mr. Khan assisted his father, Hafiz Khan, in collecting funds for, and transferring funds to, the Pakistani Taliban," Jordan said in his order denying bail.

Jordan is weighing whether Khan's older brother, 37-year-old Irfan Khan, should get bail. He has already rejected bail for the men's father, who was an imam at the Miami Mosque, also known as the Flagler Mosque in Miami, at the time of his arrest.

The other three charged in the case, Ali Rehman, Alam Zeb and Amina Khan, were living in Pakistan when the indictment against them was handed down and are believed to be at large.

The case is United States v. Khan et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, No. 11-20331.

(Editing by Peter Cooney)

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