MQM’s Altaf Hussain Could Be Sentenced To 7 Years In Jail, Trial To Start On June 1st, 2020

Barrister Moeen Khan, a Criminal law expert, said that encouraging terrorism is a criminal offense under Section 1 of Terrorism Act 2006.

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Altaf Hussain, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader, will go on trial at the Old Bailey on 1st June 2020, for the terrorism case brought against him by Crown Prosecution Service’s Counter-Terrorism Division related to the incitement speech made by him in August of 2016, from London to Karachi.

The MQM leader appeared against the court on Friday for a procedural hearing on the case. Justice Sweeny, after hearing this case, stated that the trial will begin on 1st June 2020, and the trial judge will be announced later.

Accompanied by his colleagues from MQM International Secretariat, the leader arrived at the court six weeks after being charged at Westminster Magistrates’ Court due to terrorism offense in the incitement speech inquiry against him.

At the hearing, the bail for Mr. Altaf Hussain was prolonged. An agreement was reached that a preliminary hearing would take place on 20 March 2020. The conditions of the bail will remain in practice until the MQM leader is on bail.

“The founder and leader of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) Mr. Altaf Hussain attended a case management hearing at the Old Bailey, Central Court. The Honorable Judge has set a timetable between the defense and prosecution for exchanging documents.” – MQM’s International Secretariat said in a statement.

Encouraging terrorism is a criminal offense”

Barrister Moeen Khan, a Criminal law expert, said that encouraging terrorism is a criminal offense under Section 1 of Terrorism Act 2006.

“The word terrorism in legal terms has a broad meaning. It can be interpreted as endangering public life, property, and the use of violence and the threat of the use of violence. Under the law, terrorism is also defined as using a threat to advance a political or religious goal. The accused can be tried at magistrate or crown court – if they are tried at crown court, the punishment is seven years imprisonment plus an unlimited fine.” – He said.

He stated that the defendants have to prove that they weren’t intending to encourage terrorism or violence.
“The defendant can say the statement does not reflect my personal beliefs and I do not endorse that statement. The prosecution will try to prove that it is a personal belief and the individual fully endorses that belief.”

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