Friday, June 4, 2010

26/11 accused Sabahuddin blasts Muslim leaders

A letter written by Sabahuddin Ahmed, who had been accused and later acquitted in the 26/11 terror attacks case, to Muslim religious leaders has raked up a storm.

Ahmed had written the letter while he had been lodged in Arthur Road jail in Mumbai

In the letter, he has lashed out at the community for not providing financial and legal help to bail him out of the case.

Ahmed is now lodged in a jail in Uttar Pradesh, where he has been charged with the attack on Central Reserve Police Force jawans in Rampur.

The letter reads as follows: "It has been nearly two years since I was brought to Mumbai. I live with a 100 other inmates like me. They wait forever, hoping their trail will also begin some day. They hope they will have a lawyer to represent them before the court and help them prove their innocence. I never cared for politics until my arrest. But the year long stint at the Arthur Road Jail has made me skeptical. I read in the newspapers that Muslim leaders made a statement or two about how innocent men like him were implicated in false cases. But what do they really do to help us? Muslims feel targeted because there is no one to take up our cases."

Ahmed has also taken a dig at the government and the police, saying that the 26/11 trial had exposed them for booking helpless citizens without evidence.

Ahmed's lawyer Ejaz Naqvi told that the letter was targeted at the Jamiat Ulama Hind, from whom Ahmed had sought legal assistance earlier.

Naqvi said Ahmed had several pending cases against him and he had been finding it hard to pay the lawyer's fee. Hence he is distraught that no financially assistance is coming forward, Naqvi said.

The JUH said they had provided legal assistance to Fahim Ansari, who was acquitted along with Ahmed in the 26/11 case, through advocate Shahid Azmi, who was shot dead. Later they provided him another lawyer, R B Mokashi.

However in Ahmed's case, the special court itself appointed a lawyer, who went on to fight the case.

No immediate relief for Ahmed, Ansari

Both Ahmed and Ansari will have to be in jail for a long while. Ahmed's lawyer said the Maharashtra government might appeal against their acquittal in the before the Bombay high court after 90 days.

"Some sources told me that the order copy was served on them only on May 24. That means they can file the appeal within 90 days from May 24. I was also told that it might take more than 90 days as the chargesheet is very long and there is a lot of preparation to do. This, however, won't affect their case, as the state can file for condonation of delay," said Naqvi.

"We have no idea when the trial in the UP case is likely to commence. Documents such as the chargesheet have not been served yet. We think of any sort of legal recourse only after the papers are served. He (Ahmed) has been shifted to the UP jail and we are awaiting a word from the authorities on the status of his trial," he added.

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