LAHORE: A judicial magistrate on Thursday awarded seven-year imprisonment to a man from Sargodha in the infamous child pornography scandal.

The magistrate, Muhammad Amir Raza Baitu, handed down the conviction on Saadat Amin under Section 22 of Prevention of Electronic Crime Act 2016 and imposed Rs1.2m fine on him.

The Federal Investigation Agency’s cyber crime cell had arrested Amin on the complaint of Norwegian embassy last year.

The agency had told the court that the convict was an active member of international racket operating online from Pakistan by engaging children of 10/12 years of age. He used to sell the pornographic pictures/videos of the victims abroad.

FIA Assistant Director Muhammad Asif Iqbal, the investigating officer, told the court that more than 650,000 pictures and videos related to child pornography were recovered from the convict’s possession. He said the probe revealed that Amin was hands in glove with the international child pornographers, Jan Lindstrom in Sweden, Giovanni Betotti in Italy, Max Hunter in the US, Andrew Moody and Mukhtar in the UK. The agency produced 11 prosecution witnesses against the convict.

The counsel for the convict had argued that the FIA carried out a faulty investigation into the matter and failed to arrest or investigate the alleged foreign agent in Norway. He said the money received by the convict from abroad was not against the child pornography.

The magistrate, however, observed in his verdict that the prosecution had established its case beyond any doubt and the prevention of electronic crimes act was fully attracted against the Amin.

The FIA claimed that it was the first-ever conviction in any child pornography scam in Pakistan.

The Federal Investigation Agency’s cyber crime wing had arrested Saadat Amin, 45, from Sargodha in early April of 2017 and took his computer and laptop in custody.

“During interrogation Amin had revealed that he had been selling child pornographic content online for the last few years. Amin used to lure children on the pretext of imparting computer education. He even paid between Rs3,000 and Rs5,000 to the parents of the victims, saying that their children would learn computer hardware and software (skills) at his one-room rented workshop in Sargodha,” a report in this newspaper had revealed last year.

The FIA had launched a probe into the matter on being informed by Norwegian Embassy through a letter that the country’s police had arrested a man in connection with the child pornographic content and that Saadat Amin was one of his accomplices in Pakistan. Working on the information provided by the Norwegian Embassy, the FIA had tracked the suspect down.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2018