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26/11 trial adjourned in Pakistan again

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
September 05, 2009 16:10 IST
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The Pakistani anti-terror court, which is conducting the trial of Lashker-e-Tayiba operatives and other suspects accused of involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks, on Saturday adjourned the hearing till September 19.

Judge Baqir Ali Rana of the anti-terrorism court is conducting the trial of five LeT operatives including operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, communications expert Zarar Shah and two other suspects within the high-security Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.

The proceedings are being conducted in-camera and the judge has ordered a media blackout, citing national security concerns as well as the security of the accused and witnesses. Sources said Judge Rana adjourned the case till September 19 following today's proceedings.

However, no details about the proceedings were available due to the media gag. Lawyers representing the accused said they had been directed by the court to strictly adhere to the gag order and not to discuss the proceedings with the media.

Shahbaz Rajput, a lawyer representing two of the accused, said, "I protest against this media blackout. The whole world is aware of the allegations leveled against my clients and the authorities should now make public whatever evidence they have against them." Rajput said the interests of his clients are being affected by the media blackout.

At the last hearing on August 29, the court had also sent a new suspect, Younas Anjum, to police custody for 10 days. Judge Rana has also refused bail to another LeT-linked suspect, Jamil Ahmed, who was arrested in August.

The judge heard Ahmed's bail petition on September 2. The five LeT operatives being tried by the anti-terrorism court are Lakhvi, Shah, Abu al-Qama, Hamad Amin Sadiq and Shahid Jamil Riaz. They have been charged under the Pakistan Penal Code, Anti-Terrorism Act and a cyber crime law.

They have been accused of providing training, financial support, accommodation, equipment and communications gear to the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai in November last year. No details are available of the charges against Jamil Ahmed and Younas Anjum.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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