A convicted child pornographer got bail

By: Muhammed Hamza Qamar

A pornographer Saadat Amin, 45, was arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency cybercrime wing from Sargodha in April 2017 and grabbed his computer and laptop in possession.

During the investigation, Amin disclosed that he had been trading child pornographic content for the last few years. Amin used minor children and paid the parents 3000 to 5000 saying that their children learning computer education. The investigate officer recovered the 650,000 pictures and videos related to child pornography were recovered by the convicts possession. Amin was involved with international child pornography organizations of Sweden, Italy and Uk. The prosecution produced 11 witnesses against the accused.

The Magistrate observed in his verdict that prosecution had established its case beyond any doubt and preventions on the electronic crime act were fully attracted against the Amin. On April 26, 2018 awarded seven-year imprisonment to Sadaat Amin of Sargodha under section 22  of the prevention of the electronic crime Act 2016 and also imposed a fine of 1.2  million on him.

In the appeal before a high court hearing on 16 May 2020 the convict counsel argued that investigation held by the agency was faulty as it failed to arrest or investigate the alleged foreign agent in Norway. He said the money received by the convict from abroad was not against child pornography. He asked the court to suspend the conviction and released the appellant on bail he is ready to furnish the surety bonds.

After hearing the appellant counsel, justice Farooq Haider suspended the sentence and released the convict on bail against the two surety bonds of Rs.200000 each. According to bail laws of criminal procedure code, A person convicted of a bail able offense is not entitled to bail as of right, which is always discretion of the court and the same has to be exercised upon the facts and circumstances of the case according to sound judicial proceedings.

This verdict got the attention of national and international media debate started related to clutches of the criminal justice system. People are arguing about the criminal justice system clutches is not enough for a convicted person who was arrested with nearly 7 thousand pornographic videos.

These questions circulating on social media and this is necessary for law enforcement agencies to address these kinds of insecurities by the people of Pakistan.

If we looked at the criminal justice system, we are amending and interpreting the Pakistan penal code of 1860, the criminal procedure code of 1898. The criminal justice system is faulty, expletive, and questionable. The low conviction rate between 5 and 10 percent at best is unsurprising in a system where investigators are poorly trained and lack access to basic data and modern investigation. Unfortunately, Pakistan system has failed to achieve the wider objectives that are why supreme court observed that ” people are losing faith in the dispensation of the criminal justice system by ordinary criminal courts for the reason that they either acquit the accused person on the technical grounds or take a lenient view in awarding sentence”.

The amendment to the prevention of the electronic crime act (Peca) 2016, aimed at bringing blasphemy and pornographic within the orbit of cybercrime law is not implemented as it should be. There are a lot of reasons and one of them is a difficult procedure and less response by the authorities.

A good and reliable system of criminal justice, not only carter to speedy remedy for the victims of crime but also safeguard and protect the legitimate rights of the accused. The system is based on fairness and equality justice and fair play for all a system that deals with crime and criminals with the view to maintain peace and order in society.

Parliament should reconsider the laws pretrial detention and bail, and where there is discretion, judges should apply the provisions of the bail to ensure their compatibility with international standards on the right to bail.

The writer is a lawyer, he can be reached at [email protected]