Court orders FIA to conduct inquiry against US blogger

Judge Jehangir Awan says if found guilty, register FIR against Cynthia

Saqib Bashir June 15, 2020
PHOTO: TWITTER (Cynthia D Ritchie)

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad additional district and sessions judge has directed the Federal Investigation Agency to conduct an inquiry against US blogger Cynthia D Ritchie for allegedly defaming former prime minister Benazir Bhutto on social media and if found guilty, register a first information report against her.

Judge Muhammad Jehangir Awan announced the two-page reserved verdict on Pakistan Peoples Party Islamabad President Shakeel Abbasi’s petition, seeking registration of a criminal case against Cynthia for passing “extremely derogatory and slanderous remarks about Benzair Bhutto”.

The judge wrote in the verdict that Benazir “died in the year 2007 and there is lapse of more than 12 years in between this intervening period but the accused never agitated this fact before any forum or Competent Authority and even not disclosed on any media. So, at this stage after lapse of 12 years her disclosure to malign the character of deceased leader is apparently based upon mala-fide”.

The verdict stated, “There is no denial from the accused [Cynthia] that she created this tweet on social media. Hence, a crime has been committed falling under Peca Act 2016 and FIA is competent to investigate the matter in accordance with the law.”

It read, “Under the circumstances, the application is hereby accepted and FIA is directed to proceed in accordance with law, conduct an inquiry and if there is sufficient material, register an FIR.”

Earlier, the Islamabad police had refused to register a case. The FIA had also prayed the court to dismiss the petition, seeking registration of a case against Cynthia.

Cynthia had accused former interior minister Rehman Malik of raping her and former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and former PPP minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin of physically manhandling her.



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