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KARACHI: An antiterrorism court on Wednesday handed down life imprisonment to two men for kidnapping a nine-year-old boy for ransom in 2014.

The convicts — Muhammad Adeel and Muhammad Sharib — were found guilty of kidnapping Muhammad Adeel and demanding a ransom of Rs20 million ransom for his safe release.

The ATC-I judge, who conducted the trial in the judicial complex inside the central prison, pronounced the verdict he had reserved earlier after recording the evidence and final arguments from both sides.

The court also ordered forfeiture of their properties.

The judge wrote in the verdict that the prosecution had proved its case against the accused persons beyond a shadow of a doubt. The defence counsel had failed to point out any discrepancies, which may create any dent in the case of the prosecution, the court added.

According to the prosecution, complainant Muhammad Rauf stated that on Oct 10, 2014 he along with his nine-year-old son Nabeel came to a mechanic’s shop in the Sector 31-D of the PFTC Society for some repairing work. He went home and left his son at the shop. But when he returned, he did not find his son at the shop.

A helper at the shop told him that his son had gone with mechanic Muhammad Adeel to purchase spare parts for the motorcycle. Later, the complainant received a phone call from an unknown person, who claimed to have kidnapped his son and demanded Rs20m for his safe release. The kidnapper also threatened to kill the child on non-payment of the ransom amount, it added.

The prosecution further stated that two days later two police constables of the Baloch Colony police station brought the child to the complainant’s house in an injured condition. Later, the child disclosed that Adeel along with his accomplices kept him in a furniture shop and asked him to talk to his father to pay Rs20m ransom for his release.

The kidnappers also maltreated the abducted child, who fell unconscious. Later, the criminals dumped him in bushes. Upon regaining consciousness the boy saw a police post and the police officials subsequently took him home.

The investigating officer deposed that the statement of the child was recorded and later the accused Nabeel was arrested and on his pointation his friend, Sharib, was also arrested.

A case was registered against them at the Korangi Industrial Area police station under Section 365-A (kidnapping for ransom), 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.

The court framed charges against both the detained men, who pleaded not guilty.

During the trial, the victim boy testified that Adeel had asked him to come along on a motorcycle to buy some spare parts of the motorcycle, but later handed him over to Sharib.

The judge noted that accused Adeel was already known to the complainant while accused Sharib was identified by the abductee during an identification parade conducted by a judicial magistrate.

“No enmity is suggested with the complainant or abductee by the accused in their statements under Section 342 of the criminal procedure code,” the judge noted, adding that the accused persons only alleged that they were falsely framed by the police and complainant party deposed against them falsely.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2018