Pakistan's powerful security agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), has admitted to holding seven suspected militants for more than a year without sufficient evidence to try them.
Raja Irshad, a lawyer for the ISI, told Pakistan's Supreme Court that officials kept the men in detention because they were convinced about their involvement in terrorism.
The ISI arrested the seven as part of a group of 11 suspects in connection with a 2007 suicide bombing against intelligence personnel and a rocket attack on an air force base.
Four among them died in mysterious circumstances in custody.
An antiterrorism court ordered them to be freed in May 2010 but they were further detained.
The case is widely seen as a test for the Supreme Court's efforts to make the country's shadowy intelligence agencies accountable.
Based on reporting by AP and AFP