Kerala High Court says, Watching terror videos, reading jihadist literature don't make one terrorist

May 13, 2018, 22:51 IST | Mid-day online desk

A division bench of justices A M Shaffique and P Somarajan made the observation recently while considering an appeal filed by Muhammed Riyas, challenging an NIA court order denying him bail

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While granting bail to a Muslim man, the Kerala High Court said that watching terror videos and reading jihadist literature does not make someone a terrorist. The accused's estranged Hindu wife, who had converted to Islam, alleged that the former was involved in terror activities.

A division bench of justices A M Shaffique and P Somarajan made the observation recently while considering an appeal filed by Muhammed Riyas, challenging an NIA court order denying him bail.

In his appeal, Riyas had contended that he was not part of any terror organisation. It was only on account of a matrimonial dispute or under the influence of someone else that his wife had levelled such charges against him, the appellant had submitted.

Observing that the appellant was detained on the ground that he might have been involved in terrorist activities, the bench said, "The fact that he has seen certain videos and speeches...will not be a reason to implicate him as a terrorist unless there are other materials to establish the same."

Noting that many such videos, speeches etc. were in the public domain, the bench said, "Merely for the reason that one sees such matters, it may not be possible for any person to establish that the accused is involved in terrorism."

"In the absence of any such materials forthcoming, even as on date, after the expiry of 70 days of imprisonment, we are of the view that this is a fit case in which this court should exercise jurisdiction to grant bail," it added.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had told the court that it had come into the picture on the basis of a report submitted by the local police.

The agency had also said two laptops, containing literature on the "Jihadi" movement, videos of speeches delivered by controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik and some videos related to the war in Syria, were seized from Riyas. Some nude photographs and videos of his wife were also stored in the laptops, the agency had said.

Apart from these, no link between the appellant and any terror organisation had been established, the NIA had said.
The court said the issue of the nude photographs was a separate matter, which had to be dealt with in accordance with the procedure prescribed in this regard.

Earlier, Riyas's wife had moved the high court, alleging that she was forced to change her religion and marry the appellant.

She had also alleged that Riyas had attempted to take her to Syria to join global terror outfit ISIS. She had also alleged that Riyas had threatened her that her nude photographs would be posted on the social media.

Also Read: Man Moves Delhi HC In Search Of 'Wife', Woman Denies Wedlock

Edited by mid-day online desk, with inputs from PTI

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