Thursday, October 10, 2013

Use video-con for terror trials: Usmani report

Afzal Usmani


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The anti-terrorism squad (ATS) has submitted a 15-page report to the state government on the escape of Indian Mujahideen operative Afzal Usmani from the Fort sessions court premises last month.
    It recommended that terror suspects should not be brought to the court at all and that their hearings be conducted through video-conferencing. “If required, the accused should be brought to the court handcuffed with court permission,” the report said.
    Amitesh Kumar, ATS deputy inspector-general of police, began a probe into how Usmani, a suspect in the 2008 Ahmedabad bomb blast case, dodged the police escort team and fled the sessions court premises in Fort on September 20. Two policemen have been suspended for negligence. The report stated that “inadequate staff” was the main reason for such a fiasco besides the cops’ negligence. It recommended that more than one policeman should be deputed to escort such an accused. It further stated that based on a person’s crime and his own previous record, the escort party should decide the number of police personnel to be allotted to escort him/her.
    Usmani (37) was arrested by the Mumbai crime branch in September 2008 for stealing cars that were used in Gujarat blasts. On September 20, Usmani and 22 others were taken to the sessions court for framing of charges against them in connection with sending terror email cases.
    The inquiry report also recommended the formation of lock-ups in court to keep such terror suspects. The Mumbai crime branch, Colaba police and Navi Mumbai police are still conducting their separate investigations in this case.

The Times of India, October 10, 2013

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