SC restores 7-year jail to woman for being member of IS

Supreme Court of India (Reuters Photo)

The Supreme Court has restored the seven-year jail term of a woman from Kerala for being a member of banned terrorist organisation IS, saying there was no room for invoking sympathetic consideration in view of “intensity of her participation and involvement” in the activities of the proscribed organisation.

A bench of Justices U U Lalit and Indu Malhotra, however, dismissed an appeal by the Union government against the acquittal of Yasmeen Mohammad Zahid for the offences of waging war against the country, supporting a terrorist organisation and raising funds for it.

The court allowed an appeal by the Union government against the reduction of sentence by the Kerala High Court for the offenses of criminal conspiracy and being a member of a terrorist organisation.

The HC had confirmed her conviction under Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and Section 38 (a member of terrorist organisation) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act but reduced sentences from three to one year and from seven to three years in jail for both the offences.

Going through the evidence culled by the HC, the top court said the accused number one Yasmeen's husband was propagating the ideology of IS and advocating, among other things, a war against non-Muslims.

Accused number two Yasmeen attended classes and she was found in possession of videos relating to such speeches when she was arrested while she was traveling to Afghanistan, along with her child, from New Delhi's IGI Airport on August 1, 2016.

The bench restored the trial court's order of seven-year sentence to her, saying “the only ground that weighed with the High Court while reducing the sentence was sympathy”.

Only Yasmeen was arrested and faced the trial in the case registered on July 10, 2016, in Chandera Police Station, Kasaragod on a complaint that 14 persons had left India to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Seria (IS).

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