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Watching videos alone not a ground to be branded terrorist: Kerala HC

By Oneindia Staff Writer
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    The Kerala High Court has observed that merely watching certain videos and speeches will not be a reason to implicate a person as a terrorist.

    Watching videos alone not a ground to be branded terrorist: Kerala HC

    A Division Bench of justices A M Shaffique and P Somarajan made the observation while considering an appeal filed by one Muhammed Riyas, challenging an NIA court order denying bail to him.

    In its recent verdict, the court also set aside the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court order and granted bail to him.

    In his appeal, Riyas had submitted that he was arrested on terror charges following a complaint filed by his estranged wife, a Hindu woman who had converted to Islam.
    He had contended that he was not part of any terrorist organisation as claimed by his wife and he had no connection with the same.

    It is only on account of the matrimonial dispute or under the influence of some other person that she (wife) had levelled such allegations against him, he had submitted.
    In its order, the bench said as far as the appellant is concerned, he was detained on the ground that he might have been involved in terrorist activities.

    "The fact that he has seen certain videos and speeches as aforesaid by itself will not be a reason to implicate him as a terrorist, unless there are other materials to establish the same," the order said.

    Noting that many such videos, speeches etc were in public domain, the bench said, "merely for the reason that one sees such matters it may not be possible for any person to establish that the accused is involved in terrorism."

    "In the absence of any such materials forthcoming, even as on date, after expiry of 70 days of imprisonment, we are of the view that this is a fit case in which this court should exercise jurisdiction to grant bail," it added.

    During the hearing, the NIA had submitted that it came into picture on the basis of a report submitted by the local police.

    The central agency said two laptops had been seized from Riyas.

    The laptop contained literature regarding 'Jihad' movement, videos of speeches delivered by Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, and some videos related to the war in Syria among others, it had said.

    That apart, some nude photographs and videos of his wife were also found on the laptop, they said.

    Other than that, as the matter stands now, link with any terrorist organisation has not been established, the NIA had said.

    To this, the court, said the issue relating to the nude photographs of the woman are separate matters which has to be dealt with in accordance with the procedure prescribed.
    Earlier, the woman had filed a writ petition before the High Court alleging that she was forced to change the religion and marry the petitioner.

    She had also alleged that attempts were made by Riyas to take her to Syria to join ISIS terror group.

    She had also stated in the writ petition that Riyas had threatened her stating that her nude photographs will be published in the social media.

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