Man From Pakistan Says Alleged Timken Trespass Was Not Intended

CANTON, Ohio (AP) - A man charged with criminal trespassing after he and another man passed through a security gate at a Timken Co. plant says there was nothing sinister about his visit.

Faiq A. Farooqi, 25, an electrical engineer from Richardson, Texas, said he doesn't understand why he was charged with any crime.

Farooqi was a passenger in a car driven by Abdiwahab Muhumed Madhobe, 39, of Arlington, Texas. Both men were arrested April 8 when they drove past a gateless guard booth at Timken's Gambrinus plant at 10:30 p.m.

Farooqi is a native of Pakistan, and Madhobe is a native of Kenya.

Farooqi said he was on his laptop computer, checking cellular phone signals as a subcontractor for telecommunications giant AT&T and phone-maker Ericsson.

Madhobe has said he was only following traffic. Madhobe's attorney claims the pair are charged because of their Middle Eastern appearances.

Municipal Court Judge Richard Kubilus on Tuesday set a trial date of June 19.

"When someone is pulled over for speeding, only the driver is cited, not the others in the car," Farooqi told The Repository.

He said he doesn't want a criminal conviction, even one for a fourth-degree misdemeanor, blemishing his record or his employment future. He is in the country on a work visa.

His attorney, William McGinnis, submitted a 25-page document to the court outlining Farooqi's educational and professional background.

Farooqi has cooperated with local authorities and the FBI, McGinnis said.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)