Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founding leader Altaf Hussain has been ordered to stand trial before the Kingston Crown Court in the UK on charges of terrorism and hate speech, starting on Monday.
The MQM leader, who is in self-exile in the UK, had previously submitted a request to cancel the trial and expunge the charges against him because he was “physically and mentally unfit to stand terrorism trial in January 2022” after he spent a month in the hospital with a bout of Covid-19. His request was rejected.
According to the charges against him, Hussain intentionally encouraged or assisted his followers to incite a riot and and attack news channels in Karachi in 2016.
“On August 22, 2016, [Hussain] published a speech to crowds gathered in Karachi, Pakistan which were likely to be understood by some or all of the members of the public to whom they were published as a direct or indirect encouragement to them to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism and at the time he published them, intended them to be so encouraged, or was reckless as to whether they would be so encouraged,” the UK Metropolitan Police’s Counter-Terrorism Command alleged.
Hussain’s trial is expected to last three weeks. He has denied the charges and said he will defend himself during the trial and under cross-examination. He will be represented by lawyers from Corker Binning.