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Videotaping US buildings? Be careful!

Source: PTI
August 24, 2004 12:17 IST
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A Pakistani man, arrested after he was seen taking videotapes of skyscrapers in North Carolina, has been charged with making false statements and possessing fake identification documents.

Kamran Akhtar, detained last month, was indicted on Monday by the federal grand jury, which charged him on four counts with making false statements and one count each with refusing to leave the country within a stipulated period and possessing documents with intention to defraud the US, a Justice Department statement said.

The 35-year-old Pakistan native faces up to 55 years in prison if convicted on all charges, it said.

The six-count indictment made no mention of terrorism or whether authorities believe Akhtar is more than a tourist, Knight Rider Times newspaper reported from Charlotte, North Carolina state.

Akhtar's relatives have said he was videotaping landmarks as a hobby during his travels.

The indictment yesterday accused Akhtar of making false statements when he told authorities that he was legally in the US, had a green card and was Kamran Shaikh.

Akhtar has been ordered held without bond pending his trial on the federal charges.

After Akhtar was detained July 20, authorities said they found a videotape in the camera showing the 60-storey Bank of America tower and the former Wachovia Centre, which houses the FBI's offices in Charlotte. 

Other tapes in Akhtar's possession showed landmarks in Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas, Houston and Austin, Texas.

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