ISIS propaganda cases: Financial transactions key to convictions

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New Delhi, Dec 21: It has almost been an year since the Bengaluru police arrested Mehdi Masroor Biswas alias @shammiwitness for allegedly propagating on behalf of the ISIS.

The chargesheet was readied over three months back and the case is still awaiting a trial. The Karnataka law department is yet to appoint a prosecutor in the case and one wonders what exactly is delaying the procedure.

ISIS transactions key to convictions

The problem in such cases is that obtaining a conviction would take a lot of hard work. Going by the bare law, it is very difficult to convict persons who are re-tweeters or just reading up propaganda material.

[Mehdi Masroor Biswas alias @shammiwitness sent to judicial custody]

The prosecution will have to prove beyond reasonable doubt to the court that the person indeed was involved in recruiting persons for the ISIS and for this a financial transaction is extremely important.

Look for financial transactions:

The questions that normally would come up for arguments in cases relating to online propaganda is if there was any financial transaction. If the investigators are able to find that the accused person had been paid money to carry out a recruitment, then prosecuting such a person becomes extremely easy.

Moreover in such cases, the information that such persons put out is in public domain and this is another factor that makes it very difficult for the prosecution to argue on when the trial is on.

[Man running ISIS account picked up by Bengaluru Police]

Officers say that in such cases, they normally look for a financial transaction. If this is not available they would look for propaganda material that are sent out either through direct messages or emails. If such information is found in a private space, then it becomes clear that the person is seriously recruiting for a terrorist organisation.

However, in the shammiwitness case, the police have collected a lot of material which is on the public domain. The direct messages that he had sent out to some persons speaking about how to reach Syria was also on the public domain.

Spare a thought for the police too, they have been trying to collect information relating to his emails since the past year.

A letter was shot off in January to various companies in January 2014 seeking information about the mails.

However, till date there has been no response on this front. The email details would have been crucial for the investigating agency to make their case stronger.

Home Ministry officials in Delhi say that it is very difficult to set guidelines in such cases. There is a need for more international cooperation on this front in case one would have to ensure the conviction of such persons with solid proof.

OneIndia News

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