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Delhi: Muslim Terror Accused Incarcerated for Nine Years Sans Trial

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NEW DELHI, 12 Dec 2022 [Fik/News Sources]: A Muslim man named Manzar Imam from Ranchi is languishing in jail for the last nine years over allegations of terrorism. But the matter is yet to cross the first stage of the trial, which is framing of charges against him.

The second stage of the trial, which is the examination of the witnesses, would commence only after the court decides on framing the charges.

Imam, who was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in August 2013 when the Congress-led UPA government was at Centre, had been booked under various sections of the draconian anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, or UAPA, and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). A gold medalist in Urdu, Imam was 24-year-old when he was arrested. He is now 33-year-old. 

Abu Bakar Sabbaq, who is representing Imam in the court, told Clarion India that the case is related to the Indian Mujahideen larger conspiracy case in Delhi. They had filed a bail application in the Delhi High Court, but the high court asked him to go to a NIA court. The bail application was rejected by the NIA court in November this year. They are now preparing to go to the high court again, he said.

Commenting on the merit of the case, Sabbaq said, “There is no witness and evidence which can connect Manzar Imam to the Indian Mujahideen and its conspiracy. But neither is mentioned in the chargesheet”.

When it comes to trial, in the nine years, arguments on charges have been concluded eight times. But no orders were passed because each time the judge who reserved the verdict got transferred before he or she could pronounce it, he said.

According to the Print, in Imam’s case, chargesheets were filed four times in 2013, 2014 and 2016. There were 11 judges, 133 court hearings and eight dates of inconclusive arguments on charges in the last nine years. However, the trial did not cross the first stage.

“The Constitution says that a person is innocent until proven guilty. According to this theory, it should be assumed that he is an innocent. The charges which were invoked against him carry the punishment of maximum 10 years imprisonment. He has already been in jail for 9 years. At least, he should be given bail now. Speedy trial is his fundamental rights,” said Sabbaq.

The NIA accused him of motivating several people on religious lines to wage war against other communities in India and of executing a larger conspiracy with members of the banned Islamic outfit, Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and the Indian Mujahideen (IM), to carry out terrorist activities. There are 14 other accused besides Imam in the case. 

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