German exporter denies helping Pakistan bomb project

Other News Materials 11 April 2008 19:48 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - An exporter in Germany who is accused of helping Pakistan make nuclear weapons told a court Friday he was not guilty, because the equipment he sold was for university use.

In an hour of submissions to the court in Marburg, central Germany, the 60-year-old chemistry expert argued that the sale in 2003 did not breach German laws against unauthorized exports of militarily useful items to zones of conflict.

The alpha-gamma spectrometry device, valued at about 100,000 euros (157,000 dollars) was typical of those used in medical, physics, chemistry and environmental research laboratories to investigate nuclear particles and radiation, he said.

It had been intended for research use at a Pakistan university.

Prosecutors charged that he must have known it could help Pakistan develop its nuclear arsenal, but the defendant argued that the device was utterly unsuitable for nuclear-weapons manufacture.

He told the court the device was imported into Pakistan by a Pakistani firm and he was not able to say what had become of it.

Police had evidence that the purchaser was a chemicals company, but conceded that they could not prove that the device really had been used in nuclear-weapons research in Pakistan.