KOCHI: The trial in the first Islamic State (IS)-related case registered in Kerala, in which 15 persons from Kasargod migrated to Afghanistan to join the terror group, began at the NIA Court here on Thursday.
NIA-II Court judge Santhosh Kumar examined three witnesses on the first day of the trial. The lone arrested person Yasmeen Mohammed Zahid of Bihar, was produced at the court as part of the trial. “The witnesses examined by the court on the first day include the brother of Abdulla Abdul Rashid of Kasargod, his aunt and a village officer, who is an official witness.
Abdul Abdulla Rashid is the prime accused in the case and his brother has deposed some crucial matters regarding the case before the judge. As many as five witnesses will be examined on Friday,” an NIA officer said.Though there are 16 accused persons in the case, the NIA had filed the first chargesheet against Rashid and Yasmeen. The probe against the other accused is still proceeding. There are 68 prosecution witnesses in the case. The witness examination will be completed on December 4. NIA prosecutor Arjun Ambalapatta appeared for the investigation agency.
Unlike other NIA cases in which in-camera proceeding are adopted, the trial in this case is being held in an open court. Neither the NIA or the accused had requested the court for in-camera proceedings. The NIA’s IT wing showcased digital evidence, including Telegram messages, videos, voice calls and Whatsapp messages, to the witnesses using a screen installed inside the court. The 15 Kasargod natives had moved to Afghanistan in 2016 to join the IS in the Nangarhar Province. Initially, the Kerala Police had registered a missing case (534/2016) in this regard at the Kasargod police station.
Yasmeen, who had attempted to join IS with her son, was intercepted by the Kerala Police at the Delhi International Airport on July 30, 2016. Though she had secured bail from the NIA Court early this year, the persons who represented sureties decided to withdraw, which led to the cancellation of her bail. She was then lodged in a jail in Thrissur. Now, she has been shifted to a jail in Ernakulam as part of on-going trial proceedings.