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War against friendly nation: NIA to examine ex-diplomat in Iraq as part of trial in IS case

Since the NIA court is holding the final hearing in the case, the NIA on Monday claimed it has to examine one more witness in the case.

Published: 08th September 2020 06:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th September 2020 06:52 AM   |  A+A-

The office of the National Investigation Agency in New Delhi.

The office of the National Investigation Agency in New Delhi. (File photo| AFP)

Express News Service

KOCHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has decided to examine a diplomat, who had served at the Indian Embassy in Iraq, in connection with the trial in the first case relating to the so-called Islamic State (IS)  in Kerala in which charges of waging war against a friendly nation or Asian power were slapped on the accused. The case against Thodupuzha native Subahani Haja Moideen, who allegedly fought for the IS on the Arabian peninsula, is the first case in the state where Section 125 of the IPC has been  invoked.

Since the NIA court is holding the final hearing in the case, the NIA on Monday claimed it has to examine one more witness in the case. The witness is the diplomat who had been with the Indian mission in Iraq in 2015 when accused Subahani Haja Moideen fought for the IS in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. NIA claimed that it will file a petition in this regard before September 11 when the next sitting in the case is scheduled. An NIA source said the witness is key to prove that Indian nationals had indeed joined the IS and fought the war for the dreaded terrorist group. The  diplomat will be examined via videoconferencing. The diplomat is currently serving in another mission where he is engaged in activities aimed at further firming up Sino-Indian ties.

V T Raghunath, defence counsel, said though it is unfair to bring in a witness at the concluding stage of the trial, he will not oppose the NIA move. “It seems the new witness is being brought in as the NIA could not establish during the trial that the accused had indeed gone to Iraq and fought a war against the Asian power and a friendly nation. We don’t think it will make any  major impact. But the move will not be opposed,” he said.

This case is unique as it is one of the rare incidents in which an accused after participating in a war abroad for a terrorist organisation had returned home. The court has examined around 50 witnesses after the trial in the case started in 2019. Arjun Ambalapatta is the prosecutor for NIA.Subahani was arrested after Ansarul Khilafah - Kerala, which follows the radical ideology of the IS, was busted by NIA in 2016. However, as Subahani had allegedly travelled to Iraq to fight for the IS then, the case was split. The NIA had made one of the co-accused an approver in the case.



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