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LONDON: Muttahida Qaumi Movement founder and leader Altaf Hussain in a hearing on Monday pleaded not guilty to the charge of inciting terrorism in a speech he had delivered a couple of years ago in Karachi from London.
The Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) had accused Altaf Hussain of instigating terrorism and violating British terror law in his speech to an MQM gathering in Karachi on August 22, 2016 from his house in London.
The charge pressed by the CPS asserts, “[Altaf Hussain was] 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.”
It further stated that Hussain intended to encourage those who heard him, “or was reckless as to whether they would be so encouraged”.
Hussain, who is currently out on a bail, attended the hearing in his Old Bailey case through video call due to the coronavirus protocols.
The hearing was also attended by Hussain’s barrister Joel Bennathan QC and prosecutor Mark Heywood QC.
The trial was due to commence on June 1, however, Mrs. Justice May, the High Court Judge, said that it was “highly unlikely” to start the case on the scheduled date due to coronavirus crisis.
After Hussain filed for not guilty plea to the charge against him, the senior judge adjourned the case till June 1.