Pakistan court drops charges against leader of group suspected in Mumbai terror attacks

[JURIST] A Pakistani court on Monday dismissed charges against Islamic cleric Hafiz Muhammad Saeed [Global Jihad backgrounder], the founder and leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)[CFR backgrounder], an Islamic group suspected of playing a key role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks [JURIST news archive]. A two-judge panel of the Lahore High Court dismissed [NYT report] the charges, which included using language criticizing Pakistan and seeking money for a banned group, citing a lack of evidence. The charges had been filed under the Pakistani Anti-Terrorism Act [text], and were related to speeches Saeed gave while visiting Faisalabad last month. It is claimed that he discussed [Times of India report] the significance of Jihad and asked for funding for his charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which is believed to be a front for the LeT. Saeed's lawyer successfully argued that JuD was not a banned group.

Saeed has been on virtual house arrest [JURIST report] since last month, after Pakistani officials ordered his movements to be restricted over security concerns. Previous restrictions had ended [JURIST report] in June, after the Lahore High Court found there was not enough evidence to link him and his group to the Mumbai attacks. Last month, Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik announced that his government would indict seven suspects [JURIST report] for their role in the attacks, also requesting further evidence from India that Saeed was involved in planning the attacks. Mumbai has suffered a number of terrorist attacks allegedly linked to the LeT in recent years, leading the government to consider controversial terrorism laws and to institute special courts [JURIST reports] to try suspects.



 

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