26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed convicted in two terror funding cases, to spend five years in jail: Reports

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistan anti-terrorism court on Wednesday (February 12, 2020) sentenced 26/11 mastermind and Lashkar-e-Toiba founder Hafiz Saeed to five years in jail following his conviction in two terror-funding cases. The order was passed by the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) judge Arshad Hussain Bhatta. A Lahore court had earlier delayed the verdict of two terror-financing cases against Saeed.

Saeed was slapped with a prison sentence of five and a half years and a fine of Rs 15,000 in each case. The sentences of both cases will run concurrently. He was convicted under ATA Section 11-F (2) and 11-N, according to Dawn.com.

Saeed, who is a UN-designated global terrorist, is the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. He has been arrested 16 times in the past but released every time.

In July last year, the top 13 members of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) were allegedly financing terrorism from the massive funds collected through non-profit organisations and trusts including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust including Saeed who was booked in nearly two dozen cases for terror financing and money laundering under Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997.

Subsequently, Saeed was arrested by the Punjab counter-terrorism department on charges of terror financing while he was travelling from Lahore to Gujranwala.

A total of 23 FIRs were filed against 13 individuals belonging to the JuD, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Falah-i-Insaniyat foundation. Eleven of these 23 FIRs directly named Hafiz Saeed as the culprit.

In August last year, chargesheet in the cases were filed while the anti-terror court in Lahore commenced the hearing on November 30 last year. Acting swiftly the anti-terror court Lahore had indicted Saeed on December 11 and the cases were heard on a daily bases from December 16.

The defence completed its argument on January 30, 2020, while the prosecution carried on with its argument. The hearings had concluded on February 6. Meanwhile, Saeed remains in the central jail in Lahore. Saeed is also believed to be involved in several terror attack cases, including the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.