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. Mistofelees

    This is an isolated incident for which we don't have all the details yet. Hopefully, the TRUTH will come out later on. Until then, people should not label Pakistani's as terrorists. It can be said that the U.S.(Zionist) interests are the biggest Terrorist threats in the world. The American public is too busy involved in their daily rat race to comprehend that they are the ones who are unknowingly funding the Zionists who are laughing at all of us. By creating unnecessary wars in the world, making police states, controlling financial meltdowns like we had in the U.S. and Europe. This is not a religous issue, it is a Human Rights issue. When people are being oppressed, they will fight back.

    May 12, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. scandisk

    well is shocking the news we do not need that type of persons in our country, terrorist we do not need and we do not want it, with our own problems later of the earthquake we have enough problems as for have now incoming terrorist because they found that our army shown failed during the earthquake so is expectable that still entering terrorist on Chile.

    i just wonder why they hate so much to United States, why they choosed our country , Chile, for do his almost perfect attack against american enterprises, how many lifes would be truncated by the guilty of an terrorist, i find that is not fair and that the terrorism will have to be pursuited anywhere they be and fight against the terrorism.

    i am Chilean citizen and have friends in the states and to me is very concerning the news that get from the USA and what will happen if occur this type of situations, by the way in the side of the news
    the judge that had at her charge the case she declared incompetent for the case because the tribunal that have to treat the case is the tribunal of the town of Las Condes and well the next monday will start the trial in the court of appeal.

    i hope that that man get kicked off of Chile and be in prison forever

    May 12, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. larry

    when would US stop aiding that terrorist state? When will US wage a war on pakistan?

    May 12, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Truth about Saif / truthaboutsaif
    twitter,com/truthaboutsaif truthaboutsaif

    May 12, 2010 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. scandisk

    i will not follow the comments about the user truth about saif because i consider that if two polices could prove that was traces of tetryl in his clothes and was in the black list since march , then is not much about discuss,

    the idea of this guy must been sacriface himself the tetryl is sensitive to the vibrations and other factors so is obvious when the cell phone rang will vibrate and the tetryl will ignite instantly and would just everything look like not an sacrifice itself see the info in wikipedia about that chemical

    Other names[hide]
    nitramine, tetralite, tetril
    CAS number 479-45-8 YesY
    PubChem 10178
    UN number 0208
    Molecular formula C7H5N5O8
    Molar mass 287.15 g/mol
    Appearance Odorless yellow crystalline solid
    Density 1.73 g/cm3
    Melting point

    129.5 °C, 403 K, 265 °F
    Boiling point

    Decomposes at 187 °C
    Solubility in water virtually insoluble in H2O
    Explosive data
    Shock sensitivity Sensitive
    Friction sensitivity Sensitive
    Explosive velocity 7,570 m/s, or 24,836 f/s
    RE factor 1.25

    also as he would get contaminated with that chemical f he works in hotel business, not in minning or anything else that could expose he to that, in Chile also is not used in civic construction explosives so is not way of contamination.

    i do not know what have to do here people that support to this guy when the information in Chile is very clear, the facts are very clear,and only an blind and hateful person would think that was his cause valid, kill innocent people only for be of an nationality determinated, is just terrible.

    the strategy of repeat as an tape that he is innocent will no change the things the case is in the chilean justice and will follow the regular curse of the case,the judges will determine if he is innocent or guilty, and done, is nothing that can be done from diatance , so post post supporting to this terrorist is worthless when the facts are so louder.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. siryousaf

    A number of people who had contact with Pakistan were surprised by the indictment to be interviewed.

    “He is absolutely a gentleman, very correct, like the ancient knights,” said Alex Garcia, head of reception and reservations of EuroHotel, where Khan made a practice of hotels.

    García is declared as the person who knows Khan because he worked daily with him for nearly a month, and was also an instructor of Spanish.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. siryousaf

    “It is not the image of a terrorist. It is a friendly person, very respectful,” he told the AP the owner of the dormitory where he lived, who identified himself only as Gonzalo.

    “It was a quiet person who did not speak much because sometimes his Spanish was not very clear. In the kitchen shared with everyone,” he said.

    Gonzalo said Khan told him that he lived a few months in the U.S. and that his trip to Chile was motivated by learning Spanish.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. siryousaf

    I am positive, justice will prevail. There has been a misunderstanding and Saif was thus accused falsely. I have faith in all the peace and justice loving people in all parts of the world, especially in the United States and Chile.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. WaitingForJustice

    I don't know why people are so dumb! This is simply American propaganda against all Muslims whether they are from Pakistan, India or some other country. They are trying to justify an invasion. Especially when current American administration is looking forward for political gains in near future.

    May 13, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. Machuca

    I live im chile and everything shows that this man is completely innocent. I think everything was a set up

    May 13, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ricardo

    @Machuca, I not only live in chile but also happen to be chilean and I would NEVER believe that our police nor the goverment will acuse falsely a poor pakistani guy just because. I do believe that our police in fact found traces of explosives on his clothes and thats why he is under arrest. If the american officers planted, sprayed or whatever this evidence thats another story, which, by the way, I dont believe also.

    May 13, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. paul

    @ricardo, just to open up your eyes to the world. A US citizen who happened to be a lawyer was accused of plotting terror and FBI claimed that they found finger prints of this guy on the explosives.
    Mistakes happen, we are humans but we need to admit our mistakes and should not repeat them. I think Saif is innocent, go to his blog and see his version of the story. I would believe him instead of anyone else. Truth will come out.

    May 13, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Moaaviah Nauman

    Lets suppose that center of all the terrorism activities is Pakistan and American forces attack Pakistan, do carpeted bombing and then destroy all the activists. Now the question is will then be peace in the world? What if as a result there starts internal demolition of America itself if it takes a step further in this regard? Will American govt. and the marines start bombing their own country men. Never ever. These Americans will have to surrender one day in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Pakistan and in every where in the world where they are demolishing the belongings of the poor people. There will come one day when the America will loose its state of power and will disintegrate into many tiny pieces of land and will be distributed ethnically, morally (sorry currently there are no moral values in The United States of America) and on every basis on which American forces are trying to destabilize the Muslims.

    May 14, 2010 at 7:08 am | Report abuse |
  14. parveen i have seen the family back groundand story about saif khan,at DOWN NEWS CHANNEL, it is enouh to clarify that SAIF KHAN is very innocent and clear minded boy. saif...ALLAH is there,who knows everything.

    May 14, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chiquillan

    Ricardo, I'm not saying the chilean police has incriminated a poor pakistani, he is under detention for a few days, and he's beeing investigated, with no positive conclusions yet. Now, intelligence workers from the embassy are going to be interrogated, as well as the chilean FBI director, and the security cameras of the embassy are going to be reviewed, If anything unfair is going on I think that it would come from the american intelligence...

    May 14, 2010 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
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