While refusing to suspend the sentences of three individuals convicted of attempting to fly to Syria to join ISIS, the Kerala High Court stated that terrorism is an evil that threatens people’s lives, freedoms, and the nation’s development.
The court stated that no religion promotes terrorism or hatred, but that some zealots and religious fundamentalists have perverted the ideas of religion in order to spread messages of terrorism and hatred.
The bench of Justice Alexander Thomas and Justice Sophy Thomas refused to suspend the sentence and grant bail to Midlaj, Abdul Razak, and Hamsa, despite the fact that they had already served a substantial portion of their term, due to the severity of the offence prima facie proven against them.
“Terrorism is an evil that threatens human life and freedom. It influences the growth of the nation in every way. No religion actually promotes terrorism or hatred.
The high court stated, “Unfortunately, certain extremists or religious fundamentalists have perverted the beliefs of religion in order to promote messages of terrorism and hatred, without realising how much damage it is causing to society and the country as a whole.”
In its order, the court stated that adolescents drawn by the call of terrorist organisations fall victim to violence and anti-national acts, ruining the tranquilly of society while disregarding the freedom, liberty, and safety of their fellow citizens and the sovereignty of the nation.
It was stated that the application of the prisoners should be taken seriously because they posed a threat to the security and integrity of the nation as well as the liberty and freedom of citizens.
“Given the severity of the offence prima facie shown against the applicants/appellants, we are not inclined to suspend their sentence and release them on bail at this time,” the court ruled in a judgement dated February 10.
According to the prosecution, the six accused individuals intended to join the terrorist organisation in order to engage in violent “jihad” as part of waging war against Asian nations at peace with the Indian government.
When Midlaj and Razak attempted to enter into Syria, they were stopped by Turkish police and repatriated to India. Hamsa was apprehended when he cancelled a ticket to depart India after discovering that another suspect in the same case was apprehended at Mangaluru airport.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) informed the court that Hamsa was one of the “masterminds in teaching ISIS/Daish ideology in Kerala, indoctrinated and recruited youths into the outlawed terrorist organisation, in addition to inspiring and sending them to the Islamic State.”
They were taken into custody on October 25, 2017, and found guilty on July 15, 2022.
Since set-off was permitted for the period of detention during the trial, the accused argued that a substantial amount of their sentence had already been served, with less than two years remaining.
They asserted that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt and that they had a strong probability of winning on appeal. They sought to delay the punishment and release the defendant on bail lest the appeals prove futile.
The high court remarked that the gravity of the alleged crime committed by the prisoners was “very grave.”