IHC rejects US blogger's petition to stop FIA's probe

Orders to carry out the investigation in accordance with the law


​ Our Correspondent June 22, 2020
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday rejected US blogger Cynthia Richie's plea to stop the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from taking action against her.

The IHC heard the petition to dismiss the decision of a district session court which had ordered the registration of a case against the foreign blogger for defaming former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah remarked that the decision of the sessions court did not order the registration of the case but only asked the FIA to investigate.

The court dismissed Cynthia's appeal declaring it inadmissible.

"Court can't interfere in FIA's investigation," the court remarked and ordered the agency to continue its probe against Cynthia in accordance with the law.

It should be noted that the local court in Islamabad had ordered the FIA to investigate and register a case.

Earlier on June 15, the Islamabad additional district and sessions judge Muhammad Jehangir Awan announced the two-page reserved verdict on PPP Islamabad President Shakeel Abbasi’s petition, seeking registration of a criminal case against Cynthia for passing “extremely derogatory and slanderous remarks about Benazir Bhutto”.

The judge wrote in the verdict that Benazir “died in the year 2007 and there is a 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 the lapse of 12 years her disclosure to malign the character of a 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 the 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.

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