Three suspects released in video leak case to face trial

Updated September 26, 2019

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A screengrab from a video shared by PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz shows judge Arshad Malik (R) in conversation with PML-N supporter Nasir Butt (L). — DawnNewsTV/File
A screengrab from a video shared by PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz shows judge Arshad Malik (R) in conversation with PML-N supporter Nasir Butt (L). — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: The three suspects released by the judicial magistrate of Islamabad in the judge’s video leak case have to face trial as a cybercrimes court has ruled that the order for their discharge from the case “does not amount to acquittal”.

Nasir Janjua, Mahar Ghulam Jilani and Khurram Yousaf have been accused of pressurising former accountability court judge Arshad Malik to acquit former prime minister Nawaz Sharif after showing him his immoral video.

Four officials of the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) cybercrimes wing had on Sept 2 arrested the suspects, but the investigation team concluded that they were not involved in the crime. Subsequently, judicial magistrate Saqib Jawad had ordered their release.

However, the judge of the prevention of electronic crime court in the order sheet declared that “the discharge order of Sept 7, 2019, of the three accused is an administrative order and does not amount to acquittal”. The judge directed the prosecution to proceed in the case against the suspects.

Judge Arshad Malik, who was suspended over the video leak controversy, had on Sept 11 filed a complaint against the four FIA officials — cybercrimes wing director Afzal Mehmood Butt, assistant directors Kaleemullah Tarrar and Farooq Latif and sub-inspector Fazal Mahboob — over poor investigation.

The FIA had on Sept 23 informed the cybercrimes court that the FIA director general not only transferred the inquiry from the cybercrimes wing to the counterterrorism wing but disciplinary proceedings had also been initiated against the agency’s four officers.

Legal experts, however, point out that Section 8 of the FIA Act 1973 provides indemnity to its officials for “exercising any power to perform any function”.

Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2019