A London court approved on Thursday Muttahida Qaumi Movement founder Altaf Hussain’s plea for bail in a hate speech case against him.
The MQM founder was charged on Thursday by the London police with a terrorism offence in connection with a speech he made in August 2016. He was charged under Section 1(2) of the Terrorism Act, 2006 with encouraging terrorism.
The section states that a person commits an offence if he publishes or causes another to publish a statement and “intends members of the public to be directly or indirectly encouraged or otherwise induced by the statement to commit, prepare or instigate acts of terrorism or Convention offences; or is reckless as to whether members of the public will be directly or indirectly encouraged or otherwise induced by the statement to commit, prepare or instigate such acts or offences”.
Hussain was presented before a Westminster Magistrates’ Court, where he was indicted in the case. The court confirmed his identity, place of birth and address.
The MQM founder pleaded not guilty to the charges pressed against him. He was later granted bail in the case.
Hussain was previously arrested on June 11 on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting offences contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007. He was released on bail a day later.
What is the hate speech case?
Hussain has been accused of delivering a ‘fiery’ speech while addressing his party workers on August 22, 2016. He allegedly chanted anti-Pakistan slogans and incited the workers to vandalise media offices in Karachi.
In April, a police team from London arrived in Islamabad to investigate the case. They recorded statements of six witnesses of the Sindh police.
The Sindh police were ordered to travel to Islamabad with relevant records pertaining to the investigation. They were asked to bring with them copies of the CCTV footage of the events that occurred on August 22, copies of all photographs and statements of witnesses who took the photographs and other relevant material.
The purpose of the Metropolitan team’s visit was to present a case to the Crown Prosecution Service to ascertain whether there is sufficient evidence for the prosecution in UK courts.