KOCHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Kochi on Tuesday found three Kannur natives guilty of attempting to join the terror group Islamic State (IS) in the 2016-2017 time period. Known as the Valapattanam ISIS case, the court will announce the sentence on Friday.
The court found Midilaj, Abdul Razak, and Hamsa UK alias Biriyani Hamsa guilty of offences related to membership in a terrorist organisation, giving support to a terrorist organisation, criminal conspiracy, and waging war against Asiatic power under section 38, 38 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), sections 120B and 125 of IPC respectively. The court could not find the accused person guilty of funding the terrorist organisation under section 40 of UAPA.
After announcing them guilty in the case, NIA court judge Anil K Bhaskar heard the convicted person for deciding on the sentence to be granted to them. Midhilaj and Abdul Rasak requested leniency from the court claiming that their family members are dependent on them and they have elderly parents at home. While Hamsa submitted that he has given up the radical ideology. He said that he now regrets following IS ideology and he learnt that all people are equals.
However, the prosecution side submitted no lenience should be given to the accused persons and they should be given the maximum sentence for the crime they were indulged in. The prosecution maintained that any lenience to the convicted persons would send a wrong message to society.
NIA Special Prosecutor P G Manu said that the prosecution succeeded in the case as all the accused persons were found guilty by the court. "All our contentions as part of the trial were held right by the court. Even though Hamsa said that he regrets about involved in the case, we hope that the court will grant them maximum punishment that includes life imprisonment in the case," he said.
It was in 2017, that Kerala Police registered the case after around 15 persons from various parts of Kannur were found to have joined IS in 2016. Later, the case was taken over by NIA the same year. It was found that Hamsa was the key person who radicalised people he knew when he was working in Bahrain from 2008 onwards. NIA filed a charge sheet against Midilaj, Abdul Razak, Hamsa U K, and Abdul Khayum - in the Valapattanam case, while Rashid, Manauf Rahman, and Afsal K had turned approvers. Abdul Khayum who was absconding in the case in 2017 was later confirmed killed in Syria.
NIA investigation found that a person named Mohammed Sameer alias Abu Safvan - now believed to have been killed in Syria - was one of the first persons to migrate to Syria with his family members to join the IS. Based on the statement of Hamsa, another case known as Wandoor IS case was registered in which several from Malappuram, Kannur, Ernakulam, and Kozhikode joined IS in Syria and Afghanistan.