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June 13, 2019

Altaf Hussain released after ‘no comment interview’

Top Story

June 13, 2019

LONDON: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain was released on the police bail on Wednesday evening after refusing to answer questions of detectives from Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism Command Unit – opting for no comment.

A source told The News that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) advised the police sufficient evidence did not exist in the file placed before the prosecutors and charged could not be allowed until further evidence is furnished. Altaf Hussain will remain on police bail at his home address,bail conditions will apply on him for 24 hours and he will be returning to the same police station after about six weeks.

At the Southwark Police Station, Altaf Hussain’s interview started at 10:00pm on Tuesday night and continued for two hours till midnight. The MQM founder only confirmed his name, date of birth and his residential address. Onwards, he refused to answer questions of the police and decided to go for “no comment” option in response to all questions asked by the detectives, credible sources familiar with the development confided to The News.

Altaf Hussain’s lawyers, present on the occasion, advised Altaf Hussain not to answer questions of the police. They told the police that their client will answer questions only before an independent judge and jury if charged and not before the police.

The source revealed the interview was stopped at midnight after Altaf Hussain complained of pain in his chest and that he was not feeling well. The interview started again at 10:00am BST (2:00pm PST) and finished at 2:00PM. An hour later, he was released on police bail pending further inquiries.

The lawyer for the government of Pakistan Toby Cadman had informed The News that, according to the material he has seen, there is sufficient evidence to charge MQM founder. UK-based Cadman was hired by the government of Pakistan for representation in MQM-related cases.

“I have seen the evidence, I have reviewed all the evidence from Pakistani authorities and I can say that it presents a compelling case. It is my assessment that there is sufficient evidence to charge Altaf Hussain for a number of charges,” Cadman told this scribe.

The lawyer termed the arrest of Altaf Hussain an important step and a decision on if he would be facing charges, would be made quickly. “Ordinarily a decision is made 24 hours after the arrest and then we would expect him to be produced before a magistrate and then formal proceedings to start from thereon,” Cadman added.

Altaf Hussain was arrested on Tuesday in a dawn raid at his London residence by Scotland Yard. The MQM founder has been arrested in relation to the hate speech of 2016. According to Scotland Yard, he has been arrested on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting offences contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007. Hussain maintains his innocence and denies issuing calls of violence.

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