Rubaiya Sayeed files application to appear in her abduction case

Rubaiya Sayeed filed an exemption application through her counsel on Thursday since she did not appear in the Jammu special court for the hearing of the case involving her 1989 abduction when her father, the late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, was the Union home minister. The matter will now be heard again on November 24.

Yasin Malik, the leader of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), and his associates are accused of kidnapping Rubaiya Sayeed in December 1989 in order to free five militants who had been detained. Yasin Malik is currently serving a life sentence in Delhi’s Tihar prison on a charge of funding terrorism.

All of the defendants, with the exception of Malik, were present in court, according to additional general attorney Monika Kohli, who is also the special public prosecutor in the case. Malik virtually joined the conversation.

At Malik’s request, the court issued a warrant for his physical presence on September 21. Malik’s movement is restricted, according to Tihar jail officials, who cited an order from the Union home ministry in their letter to the court.

Kohli said Malik was to cross-examine Rubaiya Sayeed.

Mohammad Aslam Goni, the lawyer of nine accused other than Malik in the case, said the hearing did not take place because no witness was present and the court adjourned the case.

Goni noted a Supreme Court ruling, stating that it highlighted the fact that an accused person’s personal presence in court is required for a fair trial and that security cannot be used as an excuse to withhold it. He stated that the Supreme Court order was unknown to the Special Court.

“It is a fundamental right of the accused to be in the court…Malik desired to cross-examine the witnesses [including Rubaiya Sayeed in person] but the state has taken a stand that he cannot be produced physically.”

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