A lawyer for the families of five US citizens accused of plotting attacks in Pakistan has demanded Washington move to bring them home.

Speaking exclusively to Al Jazeera, Nina Ginsberg also said the families of the five had reason to believe the men had been mistreated by their Pakistani prison guards.

The five men, who were arrested in December in a raid on a house in the eastern Pakistani city of Sargodha, made a brief court appearance this week in which they denied charges of plotting attacks.

Police officials said emails showed they had contacted the Taliban and that the Taliban had planned to use them for attacks in Pakistan.

The police plan to seek life sentences for the men under the country's anti-terrorism law.

But another lawyer for the Muslim men, aged 19 to 25, said they had no ties with any "militant group" and had no plans to "carry out any activity in Pakistan".

The men wanted to go to Afghanistan "to help their Muslim brothers, like those needing medical or financial assistance", the lawyer, Mohammad Amir Khan, said.

One of the accused, Ramy Zamzam, told journalists as he entered court this week that "we are not terrorists".

"We are jihadists, and jihad is not terrorism," he said.

Source: Al Jazeera