A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has sentenced Hafiz Saeed, accused by India of masterminding the 2008 attacks in the port Indian city of Mumbai, to 11 years prison in a case related to terrorism financing, a government prosecutor and defense lawyer say.
According to Press TV, Saeed was convicted and sentenced on two counts by a court in the eastern city of Lahore on Wednesday.
“The total punishment in both the cases was 11 years but he will serve five and a half years in jail as the two punishments will run concurrently,” Saeed’s lawyer Imran Gill said.
Abdul Rauf Watto, the government’s prosecutor in the case, confirmed the verdict.
“Hafiz Saeed and another of his close aides have been sentenced in two cases of terrorism financing,” Watto said
Saeed was indicted in December last year on six charges under anti-terrorism laws, with verdicts still due in four cases.
The conviction of Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed more than 160 people, has been a long-standing demand of Pakistan’s neighbor India.
Saeed has denied any involvement in the Mumbai attacks and says his network, which spans 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance services, has no ties to militant groups.
In 2017, Saeed was put under house arrest by Pakistani authorities and subsequently released after being cleared of charges against him, drawing strong criticism from New Delhi.
In recent months, the government also took over schools, mosques, seminaries and all properties linked to Saeed’s charities and froze their assets.
Saeed’s conviction comes days ahead of a key meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental watchdog that monitors terrorism and criminal financing laws, in Paris.