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Hafiz Saeed indicted in another case of terror funding

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Hafiz Saeed
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Lahore, An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has indicted the chief of the banned Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), Hafiz Saeed, and other JuD leaders in another terror financing case registered against them by the Counterterrorism Department (CTD), Gujranwala, the media reported.

The JuD leadership is facing more than two dozen cases related to terror financing and money laundering, registered in five cities. All the cases have been clubbed before Lahore anti-terrorism courts due to security concerns, The News reported on Saturday.

Officials presented Hafiz Saeed and others before the ATC judge regarding proceedings of an FIR filed by CTD Gujranwala.

Saeed and others refused to accept charges levelled against them in the FIR. The court then framed charges against JuD leaders and summoned prosecution witnesses on December 21.

On July 3, the top 13 leaders of the JuD were booked in two dozen cases for terror financing and money laundering under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 1997.

The Counterterrorism Department (CTD), which registered the cases in five cities of Punjab, declared that the JD was financing terrorism from the massive funds collected through non-profit organisations and trusts including Al-Anfaal Trust, Dawatul Irshad Trust, Muaz Bin Jabal Trust, etc.

Furthermore, the CTD during detailed investigations found that they had links with the JD and its top leadership, accused of financing terrorism by building huge assets/properties from the collected funds in Pakistan. These non-profit organisations were banned in April.

Later, on July 17, Hafiz Saeed was arrested from Gujranwala on charges of terror financing by the Punjab CTD. He was sent to prison on judicial remand after the CTD presented him before a Gujranwala ATC.

Besides the top JuD leaders, Malik Zafar Iqbal, Ameer Hamza, Mohammad Yahya Aziz, Mohammad Naeem, Mohsin Bilal, Abdul Raqeeb, Ahmad Daud, DMuhammad Ayub, Abdullah Ubaid, Mohammad Ali and Abdul Ghaffar were booked in the cases.

However, the JuD leaders claim that they have been nominated in the cases by wrongly attributing them as leaders of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). As per counsel of the JuD leaders, his clients had quit the LeT before the organisation was banned in 2002.

The counsel argued that the cases against his clients have been made on the basis of a link to defunct Al-Nifal Trust which was formed to construct mosques in the country.

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Singapore court upholds gay sex ban

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Singapore, March 31 (IANS) A Singapore court has dismissed a bid to overturn a law that criminalises gay sex, dealing a blow to the city-states LGBT movement, a media report said.

The high court on Monday rejected appeals by three gay men who had argued the colonial-era law was unconstitutional, the BBC said in the report. The presiding judge said the law was “important in reflecting public sentiment and beliefs” in Singapore.

Under Section 377A, men found guilty of homosexual acts in public or private can be jailed for up to two years.

Speaking outside court, a lawyer for one of the complainants, M Ravi, said he was “very disappointed” by the ruling.

“It’s shocking to the conscience and it is so arbitrary,” the BBC quoted the lawyer as saying. The legal challenges were the latest attempts to repeal Section 377A, after an effort by a gay couple in 2014 was rejected by the Court of Appeal.

Singapore’s authorities rarely enforce Section 377A, first introduced in 1938 by British colonial rulers. But the city-state’s leaders have refused to remove it, saying it reflects the conservative mores of the city state’s society, the BBC reported.

In Monday’s judgement, the court echoed that sentiment, saying non-enforcement of the law against consensual gay sex in private did not render it redundant.

The court concluded the law was constitutional because it did not violate articles regarding equality and freedom of speech.
Currently 70 countries criminalise same-sex relations.


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Bangladesh might extend shutdown of office

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New Delhi : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday signalled that the shutdown of offices and workplaces due to the coronavirus pandemic may be extended to April 9.

Hasina made the remark while handing out instructions on the prevention of the novel coronavirus outbreak to field-level officers across Bangladesh via video-conference from her official residence here, reports bdnews24.

“We had declared a 10-day holiday. But it might be extended by a few more days,” Hasina said. Bangladesh announced the closure of all government and private offices and courts from March 26 to April 4 amid mounting fears.
However, the government said the shutdown would not affect emergency services such as hospitals and the fire service.

Public transport would also operate on a limited scale during the holidays, it added. On Monday, the government’s disease control agency has confirmed one more case of the coronavirus infection, taking the total number of infections to 49, bdnews24 reported. The overall death toll stood at five, the agency added.


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Japan to ban entry to people from 73 countries

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Tokyo, March 31 (IANS) Japan said Tuesday that it would ban people from more than a third of the world, including the US, from entering the country to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The US is among a list of 73 countries to which the Japanese government also discouraged travel amid the steep global increase in the number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities, reports Efe news.

Japan raised its travel alert to Level 3 (out of a possible 4), over which it advised against travelling to certain territories under any circumstances.

The alert was extended on Tuesday to 49 countries, including the US, Canada, South Korea, China, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Panama, Brazil, Bolivia, the UK and Greece, from which Japan will prohibit the entry to travelers who aren’t Japanese, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said at a press conference.

Motegi did not specify when the entry veto would take effect.

In this way, Japan will increase to 73 the countries to which it urges not to travel – more than a third of the world – among which are Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Australia and Iran.

Citizens who have travelled to these countries in the last 14 days are all subject to entry restrictions.

Travel alerts to the rest of the world was maintained at alert Level 2 (which discourages non-essential or unurgent trips).

Japan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement it would follow the evolution of the spread of COVID-19 and said it does not rule out implementing more border restrictions.

The Japanese government has so far reported 2,665 new coronavirus infections and 67 deaths in the country, including 712 cases and 11 deaths linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Japan has experienced an increase in cases detected both in the country and its airports, with more than 10 daily infections identified at the country’s airports for more than a week.

On Monday, 51 of the total 87 cases Japan detected were at airports.


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