Five Muslim American students have been sentenced to ten years in prison in Pakistan after they were found guilty of conspiring to commit terrorist attacks and funding banned terrorist organisations.

Two of the five men are of Pakistani origin while the remaining three are believed to be Egyptian, Eritrean and Ethiopian.

All five, who are aged between 19 and 25, were arrested last December in Sargodha, less than 100 miles from Jammu Kashmir and the Indian border.

The men claim to have gone to Afghanistan to perform charity work, however they stand accused of going to the war-torn nation to take up arms with the Taliban against US and coalition forces.

Each of them quietly left the state of Virginia last November, with little or no word that they were going or where they were going.

Suspicions were aroused further when the men's families discovered a video message showing conflict and calling for the defence of Muslims.

The men claim that they are innocent and that the FBI and Pakistani police framed and tortured them.

Despite the convictions it is possible the ruling could be overturned by a higher court.