Withholding information: US judge puts Fai under house arrest

Published: July 28, 2011

Activist admits to receiving money from ISI; is to be released on bond of $100,000. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, USA: 

A US judge has placed Kashmiri American Council director Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai under house arrest with an electronic monitoring device and barred him from leaving the Washington metropolitan area.

The judge has also set a bond of $100,000 for Fai, which is to be signed by his wife as the co-guarantor. Fai’s wife has also been asked to surrender her passport to US authorities while Fai’s own passport is already with the US government. Fai has also been asked not to maintain any contact with any foreign government or witness.

In a federal courthouse, nearly two and a half hours after his case was scheduled to begin, Dr Fai was brought into courtroom number 501, filled primarily with his supporters and journalists from the subcontinent.

As Dr Fai’s wife and friends watched on, prosecution lawyer Gordon Kromberg began by telling the court that Fai had admitted to receiving funds from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.

However, Fai’s lawyers Nina Ginsberg and Khurram Wahid painted a case of Fai maintaining independence from the ISI’s viewpoint. According to the defence, Fai did receive funds over the years from the ISI but had always raised his voice for the cause of Kashmiris. In the events that he organised, the lawyers said, he always took care to present a balanced point of view by inviting both Indians and Pakistanis. He may have received bullet points from them on subjects but on many occasions, said his lawyers, Dr Fai’s stance on Kashmir differed from that of the Pakistani government.

The defence also called Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Agent Sarah Linden to testify, who has been named in the affidavit prepared by the FBI against Fai. Agent Linden said that Fai had in the past denied having links to the ISI or his handlers. When asked about three handlers by the FBI, Agent Linden said that Fai denied knowing two of them and said he had spoken to the third one ten years ago. However, said the prosecution, Fai had admitted to receiving funds from the ISI after he was questioned following his arrest.

In an absurd twist to the case, Linden also talked about a paper clipping that had been found in Fai’s luggage after he had returned from a visit by the airport authorities. The newspaper clip was about the Raymond Davis case, however, Fai had said that the flip side of the newspaper bore his photograph, which is why he had saved and carried the newspaper clipping with him.

Speaking to reporters after court proceedings, Fai’s lawyers handed out a statement prepared by Fai himself. According to the statement, “It has been my lifelong commitment to the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, irrespective of their religious background and cultural affiliations, to help achieve the right of self-determination to decide their future. God willing, I will continue to do that in days, weeks, months and years to come.”

Fai was arrested earlier this month and has been charged with not informing the US government that he was in the pay of the Pakistan government while lobbying for the Kashmir cause and donating funds to Congressmen. Fai’s lawyers said that they have waived the 30-day speed trial option, and will, over the next few months, be studying the documents associated with the case.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • rameed
    Jul 28, 2011 - 10:38AM

    It is still beyond comprehension why many Pakistanis are so het-up and agitated over the arrest of a US national of Indian descent for breaking a US law. Just because he was working for the plight of the Kashmiri people does not mean that he was also sympathetic to Pakistan. He was receiving financial support from a Pakistani agency illegally to further a just cause. Does the end justify the means? Fai was using Pakistan, as he was being used/manipulated by Pakistan. It was a classic mutual back-scratching. In the end, the real question is, do the Kashmiris really want to be part of Pakistan? Does Pakistan think that Kashmiris are oblivious to what is happening in Pakistan’s own backyard in Balochistan? Before condemning the rape of Kashmiri women in Indian-held Kashmir, perhaps it would benefit Pakistan more and make it look morally credible by doing something about the plight of its own women, who are raped but not getting any justice. Pakistan has no moral ascendancy condemning the situation in Indian-held Kashmir when it can’t even rectify the injustices being committed in Balochistan and against its own minorities.Recommend

  • denier
    Jul 28, 2011 - 1:53PM

    again, CIA, MOSSAD, RAW, western conspiracy to defame pakistan

    Recommend

  • Sarfraz Salik
    Jul 28, 2011 - 3:13PM

    Listen West!!!
    One thing for sure, we will never surrender our “Nuclear Assets”,

    A peace of land does not call a country. We are not a nation, we are a crowd of people of diffrent languages, cultures, colors, parties and faiths. Get united for the country, before its too late…..

    Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jul 29, 2011 - 1:11AM

    Does Pakistan govt believe in US justice system or not? Fai would be tried fair and in an open court with his choice attornies. If he has not broken any US laws and not deceived the US govt, he does not have anything to fear. Taking foreign money and lobby for another coutry is a crime in US, it is that simple.
    The logic that US is harsh on Pakistan is bogus. If one is breaking the law for years that does not mean he is going to get away with that for ever! Speeding on the roads is not legal but some prople break that law. However, once in a while they get caught and have to pay fines. That does not mean the cops are unfair to them now.

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