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Bombay HC upholds bail to alleged ISIS member Areeb Majeed

The High Court opined that he should be granted bail as he has been in jail since 2014 and the trial is not close to completion

Sabrangindia 23 Feb 2021

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

A Bombay High Court Bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale have upheld the Special Court’s order granting bail to Areeb Majeed, accused of having links with terror outfit ISIS, reported Bar & Bench.

The Bench was hearing an appeal filed by the central investigation agency NIA, against the Special Court’s order which granted bail to Majeed on merits. Imposing a bail bond of Rupees One Lakh, the court observed that he should be released as he has been in jail for six years and the trial will not end anytime sooner.

According to the media, he has been directed to stay with his family in his residential home and report to the nearest police station twice a day for the first two months. He has also been barred from making any statements to the media and posting anything related to the case on social media.

The Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh reportedly requested for a stay but the High Court rejected his prayer. The court said, “...this is a question of liberty and that the detention of the accused for this long worked in his favour”, reported the Indian Express.

Majeed had travelled to Syria to allegedly join ISIS and was arrested on his return to India in 2014 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and was lodged in Arthur Road Jail since then. As per a report in Bar & Bench, he has been charged with the commission of offences under Section 125 (waging war against government) of the Indian Penal Code as well as Section 16 (punishment for terrorist act) and Section 18 (punishment for conspiracy) of the UAPA.

Anil Singh (appearing for NIA) had argued that Majeed had returned to India in November, 2014, with an intention to carry out terrorist activities. He submitted a picture of Majeed, where he was holding a purported weapon and made the judges review video clips produced by the NIA to exhibit that he has been involved with terrorist organisations, as per the IE.

However, Majeed, had argued that the entire charge is about being in Iraq between June and November, 2014 and that the present trial is not for any offences in India, against India or anything pertaining to India. He also submitted that on an application by his father, the NIA through the Indian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, had made arrangements for his return from Istanbul but were reluctant to accept the role they played.

He also placed reliance on the recent Supreme Court judgment Union of India vs K.A Najeeb which held that constitutional courts have the power to grant bail to people accused of offences under UAPA irrespective of Section 43-D (5), so as to enforce the right to speedy trial which is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

During a hearing on February 5, Bar & Bench had quoted the court saying, “Why would a 21 yr old go to Iraq for people who he has never met in his life by leaving his family behind? Don’t you have enough suffering around you? You may be immature.. like you said. You have no idea what your parents had to go through.” 

Related:

Does the new SC judgment offer hope for bail under UAPA?
What does it take to secure bail under UAPA?

Bombay HC upholds bail to alleged ISIS member Areeb Majeed

The High Court opined that he should be granted bail as he has been in jail since 2014 and the trial is not close to completion

Image Courtesy:indianexpress.com

A Bombay High Court Bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale have upheld the Special Court’s order granting bail to Areeb Majeed, accused of having links with terror outfit ISIS, reported Bar & Bench.

The Bench was hearing an appeal filed by the central investigation agency NIA, against the Special Court’s order which granted bail to Majeed on merits. Imposing a bail bond of Rupees One Lakh, the court observed that he should be released as he has been in jail for six years and the trial will not end anytime sooner.

According to the media, he has been directed to stay with his family in his residential home and report to the nearest police station twice a day for the first two months. He has also been barred from making any statements to the media and posting anything related to the case on social media.

The Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh reportedly requested for a stay but the High Court rejected his prayer. The court said, “...this is a question of liberty and that the detention of the accused for this long worked in his favour”, reported the Indian Express.

Majeed had travelled to Syria to allegedly join ISIS and was arrested on his return to India in 2014 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and was lodged in Arthur Road Jail since then. As per a report in Bar & Bench, he has been charged with the commission of offences under Section 125 (waging war against government) of the Indian Penal Code as well as Section 16 (punishment for terrorist act) and Section 18 (punishment for conspiracy) of the UAPA.

Anil Singh (appearing for NIA) had argued that Majeed had returned to India in November, 2014, with an intention to carry out terrorist activities. He submitted a picture of Majeed, where he was holding a purported weapon and made the judges review video clips produced by the NIA to exhibit that he has been involved with terrorist organisations, as per the IE.

However, Majeed, had argued that the entire charge is about being in Iraq between June and November, 2014 and that the present trial is not for any offences in India, against India or anything pertaining to India. He also submitted that on an application by his father, the NIA through the Indian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, had made arrangements for his return from Istanbul but were reluctant to accept the role they played.

He also placed reliance on the recent Supreme Court judgment Union of India vs K.A Najeeb which held that constitutional courts have the power to grant bail to people accused of offences under UAPA irrespective of Section 43-D (5), so as to enforce the right to speedy trial which is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

During a hearing on February 5, Bar & Bench had quoted the court saying, “Why would a 21 yr old go to Iraq for people who he has never met in his life by leaving his family behind? Don’t you have enough suffering around you? You may be immature.. like you said. You have no idea what your parents had to go through.” 

Related:

Does the new SC judgment offer hope for bail under UAPA?
What does it take to secure bail under UAPA?

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