Bail plea of three men dismissed in Rawalpindi
RAWALPINDI, April 5: An anti-terrorism court on Tuesday dismissed the acquittal plea of three men arrested for their alleged links with Faisal Shahzad, the plotter of botched Time Square bombing in New York in May 2010.
Special Judge ATC-I Malik Mohammad Akram Awan, however, observed that the accused – Akhtar and Mohammad Shoaib Mughal of Rawalpindi and Mohammad Shahid Hussain, a resident of Islamabad – would be given proper opportunity to defend themselves during the trial.
The court will take up the case again on April 15 to record the statements of the prosecution witnesses.
The three men were booked by the Sihala police on September 5 last year after they were arrested from Islamabad Highway riding a vehicle with fake registration, a laptop and pro-Taliban literature.
Police inserted in the FIR Section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information to screen offender), 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 149 (unlawful assembly) of Pakistan Penal Code; Section 9 (stirring terrorism) and 21-C (giving training for terrorism) of Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 besides charges of money laundering and cyber terrorism.
In their application for acquittal, the accused said they were picked by intelligence agencies in May last year from their houses. “Their relatives had also got registered FIRs against their abduction,” said Advocate Basharratullah Khan who is representing the accused.
He said an inquiry commission set up by the Ministry of Interior, comprising three retired judges, to trace the missing persons had also reported about the alleged abduction of the three men.
Prosecution lawyer Tayyab Shah, however, maintained that mere an inquiry report could not be used for acquittal and if there was any report about the men going missing the defence should produce it in the trial court.
He alleged that it had been established during the investigations that the three men were not picked by agencies but they had themselves gone into hiding and later arrested by the Sihala police.
The court was informed that the accused in their statement before a judicial magistrate had confessed to their links with Faisal Shahzad and providing him 43,000 dollars for carrying out the attacks. The prosecution lawyer said the investigators had also obtained the record of conversation between the accused and Faisal Shahzad.