ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday reserved judgement in a petition seeking bail of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) activist Hayat Preghal booked under Pakistan Cyber Crime Act for posting ‘anti-state’ content on social media.
A single-member bench of the IHC comprising Justice Amir Farooq resumed hearing of the case.
During the hearing, defence counsel Baber Awan opposed the contents of the FIR and said his client is innocent and wrongly implicated in this case. He argued that no material was recovered during the investigation from the possession of his client nor was the accused “directly nominated in the FIR”. He requested the court to grant bail.
The FIR registered with the police does not mention Hayat by name but includes URLs to social media posts he made from his Twitter and Facebook accounts. These accounts and Hayat’s mobile phone, laptop and USB were accessed by the FIA’s Cyber Crime Unit during his detention.
However, the court which was supposed announced verdict court reserved its judgment.
Hayat is the social media lead for the PTM. He was detained from his house in Dera Ismail Khan on July 5, 2018, while visiting family during holidays from the UAE, where he works as a pharmacist.
The authorities did not provide any information about his fate and whereabouts until six days later, when he called his family and told them he was arrested by Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
His family only discovered his whereabouts when he was permitted to call them on the afternoon of 11 July 2018. Besides HRCP, Amnesty International has called for the release of the social media activist.