Five detained Americans in Pakistan said on Monday they had been tortured by Pakistani security officials as police asked a court to indict them on terrorism charges.

“We are being tortured, we are being tortured,” several of the men shouted in English from a prison van as it left a court in Sargodha town in Punjab after their hearing, which took place under tightsecurity.

The students, in their 20s and from the state of Virginia, were detained in Pakistan last month. Pakistan police produced them before an anti-terrorism court on Monday after completing their interrogation.

Jehangir Sarwar, a senior lawyer present in the courtroom, quoted one of the five men as complaining of “police excesses”.

Sarwar, who was in the court as an observer and was not representing anyone, did not say which of the five men made the remark, while police officials denied that mistreatment was raised during the brief hearing.

“None of the five men said anything of the sort in the court. As far as I know, one of these men had a stomach problem,” said Aamir Abbas, a local police official who worked on the case.

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A police officer involved in the case, Amir Abbas Shirazi, dismissed the accusation.

“One of them just complained to the court about a stomach problem and said he needed some medicine,” Abbas told reporters.

The five Americans, one of them wrapped in a shawl and another wearing a woolen cap, were brought to the court in handcuffs. Police did not allow reporters into the hearing.

They face lengthy prison terms if found guilty.

The men were arrested in the central city of Sargodha, not long after arriving in Pakistan.

Two of them are of Pakistani ancestry, one of Egyptian, one of Yemeni and one of Eritrean.

The next court hearing will be on Feb. 2
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