'Tartan Taliban' Cleared of Terror Links.But Is Still Jailed for 3 Years; Scot Broke Rules on Travelling in Border Region of Pakistan

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Byline: DAVID WILLIAMS;RICHARD PRICE

JAMES MCLINTOCK, the Scot dubbed the Tartan Taliban, has been jailed for three years in a Pakistani prison for flouting laws about travel in the strictly controlled border with Afghanistan.

But contrary to his nickname, the Daily Mail can reveal that McLintock has been cleared of any links to Osama Bin Laden's terrorist network Al Qaeda.

McLintock, 37, known to his Moslem colleagues as Mohammed Yacoub, had faced rigorous questioning by the FBI and Pakistan's Intelligence Service and at one stage it was feared he might be sent for further questioning to the U.S.

naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

However, they say he could still be questioned further about possible associations with the ousted Taliban regime and its followers in Afghanistan.

His prison sentence, under Pakistan's Frontiers Crimes and Regulations or tribal laws known as Black Laws, will be a bitter blow to his parents, who live in Arbroath, Angus, and his Moslem wife Shaffia, 33.

She has been living with their four children in the Pakistani port city of Karachi and has steadfastly maintained his innocence of any terrorist link.

Last night she was with the children in the capital Islamabad and unavailable for comment. But it is understood she has been told of the sentence and has now consulted lawyers about securing his release as quickly as possible.

His father, Dr Iain McLintock, a former Labour district councillor and chemistry lecturer at Dundee University, and his mother Margaret, a former teacher, have refused to talk about their son's case.

According to Home Ministry officials in Pakistan, it is unusual for a foreign national to be sentenced under the Black Laws.

Sentences for locals can sometimes be up to ten years.

McLintock, who has studied at both Dundee and Edinburgh universities, was arrested in December at a checkpoint after visiting a crossing point on Pa k i s t a n' s b o r d e r w i t h Afghanistan close to a camp where several of the hijackers involved in the September 11 atrocities in the U.S. were trained.

He has been jailed for being in the area without permission or the correct documentation.

The punishment, which is the minimum sentence for the offence, was decided without trial. McLintock was also denied legal representation and a right to reply, officials in the Pakistani frontier town of Peshawar said.

His sole hope of leniency, with a quashing or reduction of his sentence, rests with the right of appeal either to the governor or the commissioner of the Northwest Frontier province where he is held. …