A UK court has found Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Altaf Hussain, not guilty of encouraging terrorism in Karachi contrary to section 1(2) of UK’s Terrorism Act 2006. A majority verdict of 10-2 was returned by jurors on the third day of deliberations.
The jury was directed to reach a majority decision after failing to reach a unanimous verdict. A majority of the jury (10 out of 12) at the Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court declared Altaf Hussain not to be in violation of the UK’s anti-terrorism laws on 22nd August 2016, when he made a speech from United Kingdom to his followers in Karachi.
Altaf Hussain was arrested and released on bail before charges were filed in 2019, three years after Scotland Yard launched an investigation into the speeches made in the UK that were allegedly encouraging terrorism in Karachi.
The MQM founder was changed with two counts of ‘encouraging terrorism’ contrary to Section 1(2) of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2006. These charges were related to two speeches Altaf Hussain made on 22nd August from UK to his followers in Karachi, “which were likely to be understood by some or all of the members of the public to whom they were published as a direct or indirect encouragement to them to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism and, at the time he published them, intended them to be so encouraged, or was reckless as to whether they would be so encouraged.”
The arguments in the case had concluded last week and Altaf Hussain decided not to stand in the witness box for cross-examination by the prosecution. The prosecution told the jury that Altaf Hussain did not “answer, apologize, explain” his innocence or give answers to questions because he “doesn’t have an answer” to anything.
Justice May concluded that Altaf Hussain’s decision was his right and that the jury could conclude that he did not give evidence at trial to undermine and contradict his speeches. The jury decided not to conflict Altaf Hussain, who has remained in self-imposed exile in London since the early 1990s, when he applied for asylum.