Wednesday Dec 01, 2021
LONDON: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement's (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain’s application stating that he is "physically and mentally unfit to stand terrorism trial in January 2022" has been rejected by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
The MQM leader had applied a month ago to the CPS to abort the upcoming terrorism trial altogether, claiming that he was suffering from several physical and mental illnesses to stand trial in January 2022 at the UK's Kingston Crown Court for allegedly using hate speech and encouraging an act of terrorism in Pakistan in August 2016.
The speech had aroused the MQM workers into taking the law into their hands and the unravelling of the MQM into two parts known as MQM-Pakistan and MQM-London.
Altaf Hussain wrote to the CPS that he had recently suffered from COVID-19 and went through an extremely difficult health situation which has affected his health and state of mind overall, therefore, the trial should be cancelled and the case dropped.
Altaf Hussain’s legal team, in support of its application to drop the terrorism case altogether, produced several medical reports of Hussain showing him as seriously ill and mentally and physically unable to cope with the rigour and demands of a trial.
While rejecting his application, the CPS has informed Altaf Hussain that it didn’t believe that he was unfit and unable to stand the trial. The CPS has confirmed that the terrorism trial will go ahead as scheduled to start on January 31, 2022, and will last for about three weeks.
The CPS gave no reason why it didn’t believe the version of Altaf Hussain but it is understood that the prosecutors have been regularly watching and reviewing the political activities of Hussain and they might have seen that Hussain regularly interacts with his followers and no more uses the incendiary language that he used frequently some time ago.
The MQM leader had spent nearly a month in Barnet Hospital from mid-December last year to January 12, 2021, after being taken in an ambulance for suffering "serious" COVID-19 symptoms.
Altaf Hussain has been charged under section 1(2) of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2006 for encouraging terrorism, according to the Metropolitan Police, for inciting acts of terrorism in Karachi through his August 2016 speech.
The charge as stated by the UK police is that Hussain "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 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."