Court rejects Sarim Burney's bail plea in human trafficking case

"If suspect is granted bail, it may affect investigation," says FIA lawyer

By
Amin Anwar
Social worker Sarim Burney speaks in this still taken from a video. — X/@SBTIOfficial
  • FIA prosecutor argues against Burney's release due to probe.
  • Baby's mother approached Burney to return daughter, he says.
  • Burney's counsel tells court FIA couldn't provide evidence.

KARACHI: A local court in the metropolis Tuesday rejected the bail petition of social worker Sarim Burney in the human trafficking case.

The order by the court of Judicial Magistrate (East) Khaliq ul Zaman came after the arguments of Burney's lawyer and those of the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) counsel concluded.

During the hearing of the case, the agency's prosecutor told the court that more evidence is to be collected against the suspect.

"If the suspect is granted bail, it may affect the investigation," the FIA counsel said, adding that the accused is resorting to continuous lies.

He added that further revelations have been made during the investigation.

The FIA lawyer told the court that baby girl Haya's mother said she contacted the social worker to get her daughter back but he refused to return her.

Meanwhile, Burney's lawyer argued that the FIA did not conduct a proper inquiry into the matter.

"The parents who adopted the baby from the hospital handed her over to the Sarim Burney Trust," he said during the arguments.

The social worker's counsel added that all legal requirements are met in the process of children's adoption.

"FIA made allegations, but could not provide evidence," the lawyer said.

Over the weekend, the court sent Burney to jail on judicial remand, rejecting the agency's request seeking an extension in his physical remand.

The social worker — who runs the Sarim Burney Welfare Trust International, a non-profitable entity — was taken into custody on June 5 after he landed at the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi following his US visit.

His arrest and subsequent remand by the FIA came in the wake of charges on him which include human trafficking, smuggling and illegally sending children to the US after American authorities filed a complaint against him.

Burney is accused of smuggling a newborn girl named Haya to the US, FIA said. The officials added that Burney bought the baby from her parents for Rs1 million and sent her to the US.