Tuesday Jul 20, 2021
A District and Sessions Court in Islamabad on Tuesday sent the suspects arrested in connection with the harassment of a couple to Adiala Jail on judicial remand till 30 July.
The suspects, including prime suspect Usman Mirza, were presented before in the court of Raja Farrukh Ali Khan after the completion of their earlier remand. Police requested the court to extend the remand, following which, the four suspects were sent to jail on a 10-day judicial remand.
Prosecutor Sajid Cheema informed the court that another suspect in the case, Idris Qayyum Butt, was arrested in another case — registered at I-9 Police Station — for allegedly torturing a gym owner and his wife.
The prosecutor asked the court to send Butt to jail for his suspected involvement in the case. The court agreed to Cheema's appeal and Butt, too, was sent to jail.
Last week, during court proceedings, Islamabad police had said that they had registered charges of extortion and rape, among others, against the suspects.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Operations Afzal Ahmad Kausar, addressing a press conference, said that the couple, in their written statement, said that the suspects had sexually abused them.
The new charges brought against the suspects include Sections 375-A, 375-D, 384, 342, 114, 395, 496-A, and 377-B of the Pakistan Penal Code, The Express Tribune had reported, citing DIG Kausar.
On June 8, Prime Minister Imran Khan took notice of a social media video of a couple being harassed. The disturbing video led to outrage on social media with #ArrestUsmanMirza becoming one of the top trends on Twitter.
In the unsettling video, Mirza can be seen violently thrashing and harassing the young couple in a room full of other men.
Over the course of the investigation, Islamabad police said that the assaulted Islamabad couple was allegedly blackmailed and issued death threats. The men had also allegedly extorted Rs1.1 million from the victims.
The Islamabad police officials made the statement during an appearance before the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, where they revealed that the victims wanted to maintain a low profile and had rejected the offer to get security personnel for their protection.
The committee's chairman, Mohsin Aziz, asked what actions were taken so far, why steps had not been taken to prevent the video from going viral, and why it is longer than five minutes.
Responding to the questions, police officials said the video was recorded in November 2020, but as soon as it went viral, a case was registered against the suspects.
"We have tracked the victims, and they want to keep a low profile. In their statement, they had informed us that the suspects had extorted money from them," officials said.
Despite requesting them to be assigned with security guards, they refused, police said, adding that the victims cannot be forced. "We even offered to provide security of plainclothes security personnel, but they refused."
Police said they had seven to eight people in custody. The main suspect and two video-makers have been arrested, while a police team was sent to a province to arrest the remaining suspects.
The committee was informed that no video of other victims was found so far through the forensic audit of the suspects' mobile phones.
Furthermore, police said the main suspect is reportedly rich and has political connections. "However, investigations revealed that he is not that well-connected. He just wants to be famous," they said.