Court rejects Swati’s bail plea

Azam Swati
Zubair Qureshi

A trial court dismissed on Wednesday the bail plea of PTI Senator Azam Swati, who has been in detention since late November over his controversial tweets about senior military officers.

Swati was arrested on November 27 after the Federal Investigation Agency booked him in Islamabad over a “highly obnoxious campaign of intimidating tweets against state institutions”. It was the second time that Swati was booked and arrested by the FIA over his tweets about army officials in less than two months.

His bail plea was taken up by Special Judge Central Azam Khan, who observed while dismissing the senator’s bail plea that he had “committed the same offence twice”.

The judge announced the verdict after hearing arguments from Special Prosecutor Raja Rizwan Abbasi, the government’s lawyer and Swati’s counsel, Sohail Khan Swati.

Prosecutor Abbasi elaborated before the court on how a Twitter account was verified, adding that Senator Swati’s account had a blue tick and it was followed by renowned personalities, including politicians and journalists.

He further said neither Swati nor his lawyer had ever denied that the account in question was the senator’s and there are no two ways about it. The account is Swati’s,” he contended.

The state counsel said that Swati had tried to build a narrative against the armed forces. On these grounds, both the prosecutor and the state counsel opposed the request for Swati’s bail.

Countering their arguments, Swati’s lawyer however argued that a case of cybercrime could not be registered on the basis of screenshots of tweets.

The judge then reserved his judgement on Swati’s bail plea and later dismissed it. Swati was first arrested by the FIA on charges of posting controversial tweets about the armed forces in October and was later released on bail.

The senator has alleged since that he was tortured in custody and demanded the removal of two military officials, one of whom he used foul language against in his tweet on November 26.

On November 27, the FIA arrested Swati for the second time over a “highly obnoxious campaign of intimidating tweets against state institutions”.