An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan on Thursday sentenced up to five years four top leaders of the banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) and close aides of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed in a terror-financing case.
Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Yayha Aziz and Abdul Salam were indicted on June 9. Iqbal and Aziz were sentenced to five years in prison while Makki and Salam to one-year each.
Makki is the brother-in-law of Lashkar-e-Taiba founder and JuD chief Saeed.
The Anti-Terrorism Court Lahore handed down sentences to JuD and Lashkar-e-Taiaba (LeT) leaders- Malik Zafar Iqbal and Yahya Aziz, Abdul Rehman Makki and Abdus Salam -- for terrorism financing after indicting them on Jun 9, a Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) spokesperson said in a statement.
The ATC also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 each on the four convicts failing which they will have to undergo six more months in prison. The four suspects have been convicted under Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.
The court found the JuD/LeT leaders guilty of the offence of terrorism financing. They had been collecting funds and unlawfully financing Proscribed Organisation LeT. The court has also ordered the confiscation of assets made from funds collected through terrorism financing, the CTD said.
All the four convicts had pleaded not guilty and chose to contest the verdict. The court announced the verdict after the prosecution presented witnesses and relevant evidence against them.
Three convicts- Iqbal, Aziz and Salam - are also UN Designated Persons involved in terrorism financing. Their conviction will play a major role in checking terrorism financing in Pakistan, the CTD said.
Saeed, a UN-designated terrorist whom the US has placed a USD 10 million bounty on, was arrested on July 17, 2019 and is lodged at the high-security Kot Lakhpat jail here.
Saeed-led JuD is the front organisation for the Lashkar-e-Taiba which is responsible for carrying out the 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans.
The US named Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice. He was listed as a terrorist under the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008.
In February, Lahore's anti-terrorism court sentenced Saeed and his close aide Zafar Iqbal to five and a half years each and imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 in each case.
A total of 11 years sentence will run concurrently.
The crackdown on Saeed's outfit last year followed a warning by the international terror financing watchdog to Pakistan to deliver on its commitments to curb terror financing and money laundering.