Supermodel Ayyan Ali finally secured bail on Tuesday, some four month’s after she was arrested from Islamabad airport on charges of money laundering.
A division bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC), headed by Justice Anwarul Haq, ordered her release as it remarked that the accused was no more needed for investigation. “The case is apparently also not of money laundering as claimed by the investigators,” the bench noted.
Appearing before the bench, Ayyan’s counsel Sardar Latif Khan Khosa submitted that the Customs officials had arrested his client on fake charges of money laundering as part of a conspiracy and that Ayyan is an honourable girl.
He said under the Customs Act, an accused, if a woman, should be bailed out if the investigation is completed. “As investigations are done, my client should be released,” he added.
Khosa said there was a difference between laws dealing with ‘money laundering’ and ‘money smuggling’, adding that for money laundering it was necessary for the accused to be onboard a flight.
“But Ayyan had neither boarded a flight nor had the stamp of exit affixed to her passport. Therefore, she does not fall under the definition of a traveler and the allegations of money laundering against her are baseless,” he argued.
Appearing before the court, the Customs counsel submitted that the Customs officials arrested Ayyan under section 7 of Customs Act from the VIP lounge of the airport while she was going to Dubai.
“The court has already dismissed her bail application on merit,” he said, referring to the trial court and Custom court’s appellate bench’s earlier dismissal of her bail applications.
Customs officials had arrested Ayyan on March 14 after recovering US $506,800 from her luggage. Later, she was sent to Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2015.
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