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‘Ready to face whatever’s next’: What Yasin Malik said about guilty plea in terror-funding case

‘Friend of the court’, advocate Akhand Pratap Singh, says he tried to make Malik understand consequences of pleading guilty, but he made up his mind not to face trial.

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New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Mohammad Yasin Malik has “made up his mind not to contest the charges against him, and says he is ready to face whatever is next”, he told amicus curiae (friend of the court), advocate Akhand Pratap Singh.

Accused in a 2017 terror-funding case probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Yasin Malik pleaded guilty to all charges framed against him before a Delhi court Tuesday. He has been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for committing a terrorist act, raising funds for terrorism, being a member of a terrorist group and part of a criminal conspiracy, and for sedition.

An amicus curiae is an individual who is not part of a particular case, but is appointed by the court to give impartial advice in respect to some matters of law. Singh, who met Malik inside Delhi’s Tihar jail on two occasions, told ThePrint that he tried to convince the JKLF leader to go to trial but the latter refused.

“I was appointed the amicus by the court to make Malik understand the consequence of him pleading guilty, and to guide him. I met him twice inside the jail and also made him understand in detail, but he has made up his mind,” Singh said.

“He does not want to contest the charges. He said he was clear that he wanted to plead guilty and does not want to face the trial,” he added.

Asked why Malik decided to plead guilty, Singh said: “He said he is ready to face whatever is in store for him. He also said a lot of other things, which I cannot divulge. But he is sure he does not want to face the trial.”

During the court hearing Tuesday, Yasin Malik was the only accused in the case who pleaded guilty to charges framed against him, while the others pleaded not guilty. Malik chose not to have a lawyer represent him in this case, and was appearing for himself.

Special Judge Praveen Singh will pronounce the judgement in Malik’s case on 19 May, and also hear arguments regarding the quantum of sentence for offences to which Malik has pleaded guilty.

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‘Received, collected money to fund terror’

Yasin Malik was among a dozen people arrested by the NIA in April 2019 in connection with a terror-funding case registered in May 2017 against members of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen and other separatist groups. The were accused of raising, receiving and collecting funds to fuel separatist and terrorist activities, being part of a conspiracy to cause disruption in the Kashmir Valley, and waging war against India.

According to the NIA, Malik was involved in raising, receiving and collecting funds through various illegal means, including hawala transactions, for funding separatist and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

In its two chargesheets, the NIA also named Altaf Ahmad Shah alias Altaf Fantoosh, the son-in-law of separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani; Shahid-ul-Islam, spokesman for the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq; Ayaz Akbar, spokesman for the Geelani-led faction of the Hurriyatl and separatists Nayeem Khan, Bashir Bhat alias Peer Saifullah, and Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal.

A Delhi court had in March this year, after hearing arguments from both sides, ordered framing of charges against the accused. The court had said the accused, including Malik, were direct recipients of terror funds, and were part of a criminal conspiracy to orchestrate large-scale protests, resulting in violence and arson in the Valley. 

The court observed that Malik had set up an elaborate structure and mechanism across the world to raise funds for carrying out terrorist and other unlawful activities in Jammu and Kashmir in the name of “freedom struggle”.

The court formally framed charges against other Kashmiri separatist leaders Farooq Ahmed Dar, Shabbir Shah, Masarat Alam, Mohammad Yusuf Shah, Aftab Ahmad Shah, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Khan, Mohammad Akbar Khanday, Raja Mehrajuddin Kalwal, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Abdul Rashid Sheikh, and Naval Kishore Kapoor.

(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)

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