UK police charges MQM founder Altaf Hussain with terrorism offence in hate speech case

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Shafaqna Pakistan:The founder of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) has been charged by Scotland Yard in incitement speech inquiry for Intentionally Encouraging or Assisting Offences, Contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007.

Hussain appeared at Southwark Police Station in South London for the third time in four months on Thursday to face police grilling in relation to the incitement speech inquiry.

Hussain has been presented before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court today.

The police announced that the MQM founder has been charged in relation to August 16, 2016, speech which was made from London to Karachi and violence followed as a result of that speech. Geo News understands that several other speeches of the MQM founder were also being made part of the inquiry — increasing difficulties of the MQM leader.

The detectives from Met’s Counter Terrorism Command in its statement said they charged Hussain with a terrorism offence in connection with a speech made in August 2016.

“Altaf Hussain (17.09.1953), of Abbey View, Mill Hill, NW7, was charged under section 1(2) of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2006 with encouraging terrorism, namely: On 22 August 2016 published a speech to crowds gathered in Karachi, Pakistan 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 statement read.

During today’s appearance, the MQM founder was asked by the police to answer the questions, stating that refusing to give answers could be used against him if charged. The MQM founder was also told that answering the police questions was in his interest.

For the third time, Hussain refused to answer the questions. His lawyers told police that their client would not answer questions of the police in the incitement speech probe.

The MQM founder was accompanied by his London-based lieutenants during the appearance. Inside the police station, he was accompanied by a two-member legal team of English lawyers. In his previous interviews, the MQM founder had decided to go for “no comment” — refusing to answer the questions of the police.

After his arrest in June this year, the MQM founder was called again to appear at the police station for questioning in the second week of July, and then again in September this year.

Hussain was grilled for almost five hours at the Southwark police station in connection with the same case and was released after his bail was extended.

The MQM founder was arrested on June 11, 2019, during a dawn raid at his home and taken to a south London police station. Scotland Yard at the time had said Hussain had been arrested on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting offences contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007.

The UK authorities launched the investigations into the matter after an FIR was lodged in Karachi naming the MQM leader as the instigator. Pakistan then approached UK to investigate the case.

Scotland Yard confirmed last year that an ‘International Letter of request has been sent by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to the Pakistani authorities, seeking help in its investigations in relation to at least two speeches made by the MQM founder.

Speaking to The News, a spokesman for Scotland Yard said that a letter under “Mutual Legal Assistance” has been sent to Pakistan’s “competent authorities” in relation to two speeches made by the MQM leader on March 11, 2015, and August 22, 2016.