NIA court convicts 18 in Wagamon SIMI training camp case, 17 acquitted

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Eighteen of the 35 people accused of organising a secret camp of the banned Islamic Students Federation of India (SIMI) in Kerala's Wagamon that was found to be the source of several terror attacks later were convicted by a NIA court on Monday. All others, except Sathar, have already spent more than seven years in prison.

The Vagamon weapons training camp case is the most important terror case that happened in Kerala. He was arrested in 2018 and will face trial.

Only two accused were produced in the court on Monday, the others, who are lodged in various jails in Ahmedabad, Bhopal and Bangalore, attended the proceedings via multi-point video conference. "The penological objectives of deterrence and reformation have to be considered", he wrote in the judgment.

They were sentenced to one-year RI under Section 10 and five years under Section 38 of the UAPA, seven years RI under Section 4 of the ESA and seven years under the IPC's Section 120 (B).

The sentences shall run concurrently, the court said. The convicts are Saduli, Hafeez Husain, Safdar Hussain, Shibily P A, Mohammad Ansar, Abdul Sathar, Aamil Parwaz, Dr H A Asadullah, Kamaruddin Nagori, Shakeel Ahmed, Dr Mirza Ahmed Baig, Manzar Imam and Nadeem Sayeed.

Consequently, only four convicts - Abdul Sathar, Habib Salahi, Manzar Imam and Alam Jeb Afridi - will have to undergo imprisonment. "But since all the 18 are also facing trial in serial blast case in Ahmedabad and some facing life imprisonment for similar SIMI camp case in Indore, they won't be released", the officer said. Both defense and prosecution counsel told TOI that they would be approaching the high court with an appeal.

As per the case, a secret camp by the banned SIMI was held from December 10 to 12, 2007 at Thangalpara in Wagamon as a prelude to the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts. The camp was allegedly held to train recruits for the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts.

According to the NIA chargesheet, the organisers of the camp had imparted training to the participants in advanced weapons, firing, bomb-making, rope-climbing, motorcycle maneuvering on the rocky hill of Thangalpara.

Judge Kauser Edappagath of the special court handling cases of the National Investigation Agency, found the convicts guilty under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Explosives Substances Act and various sections of Indian Penal Code.

Trial in the case commenced in January a year ago and 33 accused persons lodged in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Bhopal and Bengaluru prisons were produced through video-conference, while the remaining two accused were produced in person.