May 11th, 2010
08:28 PM ET

Pakistani man arrested at U.S. Embassy in Chile, officials say

A 28-year-old Pakistani man with explosives residue on his clothes was arrested at the U.S. Embassy in Chile, the State Department and Chilean national police said Tuesday.

U.S. Embassy officials in Santiago, Chile's capital, asked the man to come in for a routine consular issue and when he arrived, detectors registered the explosives residue, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Tuesday afternoon at a briefing in Washington.

"We had information, we have information on this individual," Crowley said. " We ... brought him - invited him to come to the embassy to clarify the information that we had on this individual. And as he came into the embassy, our explosive detectors went off."

Crowley declined to give further details on why the man was asked to come in to the embassy.

A senior U.S. official told CNN the man was linked to an extremist group based in the Western Hemisphere and not to a group in Pakistan.

"As far as we can tell, the origin of the activities which brought him to our attention were more of a local or regional nature than international," the official said. "He came to Chile on a student visa and while there he associated himself with a group that we have some knowledge of that was espousing extremist and anti-Western views."

The official told CNN the man was on a watch list and was being tracked for some time because he was believed to be involved with the extremist group, which the official declined to identify. The official said the association was enough to call him to the U.S. embassy in Chile to revoke his visa. U.S. officials were surprised when he tested positive for TNT.

An investigation is underway to determine what he was doing with explosives and whether he posed a threat to the United States.

Crowley identified the suspect as Muhammad Saif-ur-Rehman Khan and said he was handed over to Chilean authorities. A spokesman for the Carabineros, Chile's national police, gave the man's name as Mauhamnas Saif Ur.

The explosives residue was found on the man's clothes, the Carabinero spokesman told CNN in a telephone interview from Santiago. He declined to give his name, following Carabinero policy.

The suspect was scheduled to have a court hearing Tuesday afternoon in which he would be charged with a firearms violation, the spokesman said.

Lt. Col. Fernando Vera of the Carabineros said in a televised interview that standard procedures were followed.

"The embassy has their security procedures in place and their security measures were activated, and that required the support of our personnel," Vera said. "Our personnel is on site and, according to agreements and protocols, the individual has been in custody of the interior minister."

The suspect had been in Chile since January and was doing an internship in tourism at a Chilean hotel, said CNN Chile, CNN's partner network in the nation.

Chilean authorities searched the man's apartment in a student housing district in central Santiago, CNN Chile reported. Video showed officials in white hazmat suits carrying items out of an apartment.

A neighbor said in a televised interview that the suspect was a religious man who went to a local mosque every day. Asked whether friends visited him, the unnamed neighbor said, "No. Nobody."

The incident occurred a week after Faisal Shahzad - a Pakistani-born naturalized U.S. citizen - was arrested in connection with a failed car bombing in New York's Times Square.

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Filed under: Chile • Pakistan
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. siryousaf

    Someone who has traveled to the US twice and lived there would not do such a stupid thing.
    The story is fake and Saif is innocent! He never wanted any US visa, since he already had one. He was called to the embassy and this trap was already set up.

    May 11, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. SickOfTerrorists

    @Siryousaf... Who let terrorist sympathizers in here? No chance this is made up... but of course you want to use American freedoms free speech and American legal principles (i.e. "Innocent Until Proven Guilty") to spread your lies. Such is the hypocrisy of extremists...

    May 11, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  3. siryousaf

    @SickOfTerrorists We Pakistanis are more sick of terrorists than anyone of you. Its our country that has become a war zone. Since you are so sure about this fake story, maybe you made it up or (b) you are an Indian.

    May 11, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dogma the one

    this is absolutly ridiculous, we should check everything that he owns and search his freinds and homes and take down these frekin terrorists. all they do is try and come to america and blend in for a while then try and blow us up, anyone who is caught in our country or our embassy's with explosives should be put on death row without a question!!!!!

    May 11, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sickofstupidpeople

    @ Siryousaf

    "Someone who has traveled to the US twice and lived there would not do such a stupid thing" – You are stupid to really believe this. It was on CNN's homepage yesterday that an American born citizen is currently aided afghanistan terrorists in helping kill American soldiers and plot against our country. Are you really that foolish to believe that just becuase someone lived here, they are sympathetic to our ways?

    Welcome to real life: people don't care about others. They act for themselves.

    May 11, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sick of stupider people

    some people do care about people, you just have to have hope. dont be foolish

    May 11, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SickOfTerrorists

    @ Siryousaf

    If Pakistani's really actually wanted these people out of their country, they would have expelled them a long time ago or never offered them refuge. Last time I checked, the Pakistani military isn't something to be necessarily laughed at; it is not as if they don't have the ability to hunt these people down themselves. Moreover, if you're a Pakistani, then you know how secure the Indian-Pakistan border is... why the hell aren't you doing the same on your border with Afghanistan? It is not as if India poses the kind of threat to your internal security that Al Qaeda and the Taliban do.

    May 11, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. raymond

    What about Hindu exteremists? They've been slaughtering and terrorizing innocent Indian Muslims and Christians for a long, long time. They should be brought to justice too.

    May 11, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. H

    the problem with you people is simple. you are highly judgmental, ardent followers of stereotypical notions and extremely naive. this is not a case of a terrorist being brought to justice this is the case of an innocent man who is a victim of racial profiling. please think about this from an open perspective not a parochial mindset. the US law enforcement has been known to on numerous accounts blatantly and shamelessly accuse muslims for crimes they did not committ. lets not forget the Dr, Aafia case! moreover lets not forget the atrocities in IRAQ and lets not forget that all those pretenses were FALSE. make no mistake they would stoop to any extent to spread malicious lies and propaganda. This is a case of sheer slander with no basis whatsoever. For too long has the muslim ummah remained silent. its time to wake up!

    May 11, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. rusty houndog

    So, the Chilean police are also in on this "conspiracy" to implicate Pakistan?

    It doesn't get past even the first level of Occam's Razor. In other words, your conspiracy theories are full of BS.

    If a bomb detector finds bomb residues at both the embassy and the Chilean Police station...

    May 11, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. H

    mr. Hounddog,

    maybe you ought to analyse the conspiracy theories and the BS the american government comes up with every time it decides to barge into a Muslim country.

    May 11, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Girish

    Did he visit Pakistani Embassy at Chile before trying to get in US Embassy? Hmmm..., then we need to do a thorough search of Pakistani Embassy.

    May 11, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. abdul

    Girish you are such big idiot and confirmed frim Indian soil Indians Listen one thing very closely and that is try your best to beat Pakistan but Pakistan will remain stand firm and high INSALLAH.

    such cheap comments do not effect the integrity and security of Pakistan.
    God Bless Pakistan........

    May 11, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. SickOfTerrorists

    @H

    STOP making this about Islam. It has nothing to do with Muslims and everything to do with extremists. If the 9/11 terrorists were Buddhists (not likely) but still from the Middle East, it wouldn't make a difference. This is not about religion. It is about politics and ethnic differences. Classic error that extremists make and capitalize on is saying this is a religious war. If someone invaded (God forbid) the U.S. of a different religion, we would never pretend it is a religious war, so stop pretending that we're going after Muslims on purpose.

    May 11, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Red-blooded American

    Interesting to note comments from all these Pakis who are on the defensive. They develop a strong inferiority complex each time there is an incidence involving a Pakistani. Don't worry guys, as long as you are 'clean' (the FBI is watching your emails, phone calls, bank accounts, and your every physical move), you can sleep peacefully, and don't have to peek outside through the curtains each time you hear sirens.

    May 11, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
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