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Pakistan

March 20, 2020

Altaf exempted from court appearance over Corona fears in terrorism case

Pakistan

Fri, Mar 20, 2020

LONDON: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain’s application for the dismissal of Charges related to incitement of terrorism in Pakistan has been rejected by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

On Friday, the MQM legal team and Rabita Committee members arrived at the Old Bailey for the hearing of the appeal. The legal team of Hussain applied to the court for dismissal of charges stating that the CPS had not heard the case properly and therefore the court should order for the withdrawal of all charges.

The MQM founder didn’t appear in person due to coronavirus outbreak. The court gave him exemption from personal appearance as Husssain had told the court that he’s in a frail condition.

The hearing will last for a day and then the judge will decide whether or not to drop the charges.

The Crown Prosecution Service's Counter Terrorism Division has charged Hussain in incitement speech made in August 2016 from London to Karachi.

Hussain, a 66-year-old Pakistani political exile living in London for more than two decades, was charged with encouraging terrorism after a speech he made in 2016 to supporters in Karachi, which was also followed by violent protests. 

He faces several years in imprisonment for the speech which was "likely to be understood" as encouraging supporters to acts of terrorism, or was "reckless" of the possible consequences.

A statement by Scotland Yard after charging the MQM founder said: "Hussain, 66, who lives in Mill Hill, north London, was charged under the Terrorism Act 2006. On 22 August 2016 published a speech to crowds gathered in Karachi, Pakistan which were likely to be understood by some or all of the members of the public to whom they were published as a direct or indirect encouragement to them to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism and at the time he published them, intended them to be so encouraged, or was reckless as to whether they would be so encouraged."

The Met Police said: "Hussain was previously arrested on 11 June on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting offences contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007. He was released on bail and subsequently charged as above."

Hussain was charged for Intentionally Encouraging or Assisting Offences, Contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 in relation in relation to his August 16, 2016 speech from London and the violence that followed in Karachi because of that speech.

The MQM founder was arrested on June 11, 2019, during a dawn raid at his home and taken to a south London police station.

The UK authorities launched the investigations into the matter after an FIR was lodged in Karachi naming the MQM leader as the instigator.