KOCHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Kochi on Friday found a 36-year-old man from Kerala, who joined the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, guilty of multiple offences. This is one of the first cases in Kerala in which an accused was charged and found guilty under section IPC 125 for waging war against an Asiatic power which is in alliance with India, officials said.
During the final hearing at the NIA court, Subahani Haja Moideen, a native of Thodupuzha in Idukki, submitted that he does not believe in violence. "I believe in peace rather than violence. My age and family situation should be considered while deciding the quantum of punishment. I did not wage war against India or any other country. I am ready to accept the verdict of the court. However, the final judgment is made by almighty God," he deposed.
However, Arjun Ambalapatta, senior prosecutor of NIA, said he has no remorse for his actions and should be given maximum punishment of life imprisonment under IPC section 125 and UAPA section 20. "He wanted to do jihad in India before going to Iraq and joined. He wanted to procure a sniper rifle. Violent videos of IS activities were recovered from him. He has no regrets about the offences he committed. Hence maximum punishment should be granted and no lenience should be shown," Arjun said.
The case dates back to October 2016, when the NIA arrested Subahani as part of the probe into another case related to IS. During the probe, it was revealed that he had travelled to Iraq via Turkey. He left India in February and entered IS-controlled Iraq in April 2015. According to the NIA, he was trained and deployed at a warzone near Mosul in Iraq. However, seeing his friend die in the war, he decided to return to India. He was jailed by IS at Mosul but they agreed to release him.
Later, approaching the Indian Embassy in Istanbul, he managed to return to India in September 2015. However, he allegedly continued his links with IS and allegedly tried to procure explosives from Tamil Nadu.
Subahani was charged under the offenses IPC 120 (b) for criminal conspiracy, 125 for waging war against an Asiatic power in alliance with India, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) section 20 for being a member of a terrorist organisation, section 38 for committing an offence relating to membership of a terrorist organisation and section 39 for supporting a terrorist organisation. He was found not guilty for an offence under section 122 of the IPC for collecting arms and ammunition to wage war against the nation. The court will announce the sentence on Monday.
The NIA judge P Krishnakumar’s judgment, which runs to 122 pages and 210 paragraphs, discussed 14 points to conclude why the accused was found guilty. In the majority of the portion, he discussed the offence under the section that dealt with waging a war against an Asiatic power that’s in a friendly alliance with India.
The court said statements of witnesses corroborated by digital, scientific and oral evidence lend support to the finding that the accused had fought for IS. "The accused had transgressed to the soil of IS occupied Iraq with his proved motive to join IS. He had actually started to abet war led by IS against Iraq, an Asiatic power in alliance with the government of India," the court observed.
Similarly, the court observed that the accused attempted to collect chlorate, sulphur, aluminum powder and phosphorus -- material used for huge explosions. "But at the same time, none of the said evidence is sufficient to constitute 'preparation to wage war against the government of India' which is the essential ingredient of the offence under section 122 IPC," the court observed.
The court also gave space to appreciate NIA investigation officer A P Shoukath Ali claiming that he took painstaking efforts to bring on record all important materials though the offence was committed abroad. There was also a special mention for NIA senior prosecutor Arjun. The court said he exemplified the ideal role of a prosecutor, adding that he took an earnest effort to assist it whenever required. The court also thanked defense counsel V T Raghunath for helping it during the trial as an experienced lawyer.