Court orders Yasin Malik’s physical presence in Rubaiya Sayeed abduction case

A special court on Wednesday ordered Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) founder Yasin Malik’s physical presence before it on October 20 for the cross-examination of Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of late former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, in her 1989 abduction case.

Rubaiya Sayeed, who skipped the last hearing in the matter on August 23, was present in the court when the order was issued.

Special public prosecutor Monika Kohli said Malik attended the hearing on Wednesday via video conferencing from Delhi’s Tihar jail, where he is serving life imprisonment in a terror funding case, and crossed examined Rubiya Sayeed. A Delhi court in May sentenced Malik to life in prison.

Kohli said Malik requested his physical appearance in the special court in Jammu for a fair trial on August 23. “…on Tuesday, he [Malik] sent an email to the court with the same request. The court issued his production warrant….” She added necessary directions were issued to Tihar Jail authorities. “This is what we were told in the open court…,” she said when asked whether Rubaiya Sayeed has to be present before the court on October 20.

Responding to another question, Kohli said Malik was not dictating terms to the court. “…everybody has a right in the criminal jurisprudence. He has put forth his position before the court… He also requested the court that since he has no lawyer, he should be allowed to be physically present [to cross-examine Rubaiya Sayeed].”

Kohli said they objected to Malik’s request as the high court has passed specific directions that all accused be presented only virtually. “In this context, we also produced a home ministry order but now the [special] court has issued the production warrant on his [Malik]’s request.”

On August 23, the special court issued bailable warrants against Rubaiya Sayeed, who lives in Chennai, after she failed to appear in person.

On July 15, she identified four of her abductors, including Malik. She was abducted in December 1989 when her father was the Union home minister and released in exchange for five militants.

In January 2021, the special court ordered the framing of charges against Malik and nine others in the case. The court in March 2020 also framed charges against Malik and six others for their alleged involvement in the killing of four Indian Air Force personnel in 1990.