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Bounty on Saeed aims to convict him : US

Washington: The US on Wednesday underlined that USD 10 million bounty for LeT founder Hafiz Seed is not about finding his location, but to seek information that can convict the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks in a court of law.

"We all know where he is, every journalist in Pakistan and in the region knows how to find him, but we`re looking for information that can be usable to convict him in a court of law," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, adding that his conviction could be in any US or foreign court of law.

"We`re looking for, which is people to step forward that provide that kind of evidence that the Pakistanis can then arrest this individual and try him," he said when asked about the statement from Pakistani officials that the US should provide concrete information on Saeed.

He told reporters at his daily news conference that the US was looking "for evidence that can withstand judicial scrutiny" against Saeed and "information that can be used against him to convict him in a court of law".

The clarification from the State Department came hours after Saeed at a news conference in Pakistan dared the US to arrest or kill him the way they did with al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Toner said the USD 10 million "is not about his location but information that leads to an arrest or conviction". He said it is about "information that could withstand judicial scrutiny" and "not seeking this guy`s location".

The American official said Saeed is free to give press conferences at this point of time as he is a free man, but hoped that he would soon be behind bars.

"He`s free to do that, unfortunately, up to this moment. But we hope to put him behind bars," he said.

Toner said the Rewards for Justice Announcement speaks for itself, "insofar as saying that they`re looking for evidence that can be used against him that implicates him in a court of law".

It is mainly due to the legal process here that it has taken time for the US to declare USD 10 million bounty under the Reward for Justice Awards of the State Department, he said.

"As you saw with the 9/11 attacks, there`s no statute of limitations on these terrorist kinds of terrorist attacks," the State Department spokesman said.

He said when the US nominates someone for the Rewards for Justice, "there`s a legal process that needs to take place or an internal process that needs to take place in order to designate him".

"I`m not sure how long that process is and when it began, but it does take some amount of time," Toner said when asked why it took so long for the US to announce bounty of Saeed.

Toner hoped that that bounty would help Pakistan to prosecute him. "We are trying to, through this Reward for Justice is to first of all put this case back and this individual back in the limelight, but also to seek out information that we feel would give Pakistani authorities the tools or the wherewithal to prosecute him," he underlined.

The US has made it clear that the bounty on Saeed was primarily due to his key role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and said it wants to bring to book the LeT founder who has been brazenly flouting the justice system.

"It (bounty) has everything to do with Mumbai and his brazen flouting of the justice system," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters here on Tuesday.

"It (bounty) is because we want to see him brought to justice," she asserted, and referred to the fact that Saeed has been charged in India.

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