Mumbai: At least 100 accused booked in serious crime cases have either been acquitted or granted bail, thanks to the free legal aid provided by Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind.
The organisation is currently helping accused in 33 cases across the country in various courts, including sessions, High Courts and the Supreme Court, said Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind`s Maharashtra unit Secretary Gulzar Azmi, who also heads its legal cell.
"The Jamait helped two accused in the 26/11 trial, namely Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin. Both were acquitted of conspiracy charges by the trial court. The Jamiat defended the duo in the trial court and later in the high court that upheld their acquittal," Azmi said today.
Nine accused in the 2006 Malegaon blast case were granted bail after it emerged that another group had committed the crime, he said.
"These innocent people had to spend over five years in jail for a crime they never committed," Azmi said, adding that the Jamait also helped them in getting liberty.
"It is a social service....We defend only those whom we feel are innocent. It has come to our notice that several times innocent Muslim youth are arrested by police in the name of investigations and national security. It is a serious issue....And hence, if we are satisfied that the person is innocent, we take up the case," he said.
Some of the prominent cases in which legal aid had been provided by Jamiat are -- the 26/11 terror trial, the Malegaon blasts case (2006), the Aurangabad arms haul case (2006), the Mulund blast case, the Gateway of India blasts case, the 13/7 Mumbai triple blasts case among others.
Although Jamait has been formed by members of the Muslim community, the organisation helps accused of all the communities irrespective of their religion. In some cases, Hindus have been defended by the Jamait, Azmi claimed.
"It is not just about defending Muslims. We were approached by the family of a Hindu man who was given the death sentence by the trial court in a twin murder case. Our lawyers took up the case in the High Court and he was acquitted of the charges as evidence against him was only circumstantial," Azmi said.