The lawyers of ten men, who were convicted for multiple blasts in the city during 2002 and 2003 today, sought leniency for their clients before the special POTA court here. The court, which on March 29 convicted 10 out of 13 accused for the blasts in which 13 persons were killed, is hearing arguments on quantum of sentence.
Advocate, Shaik said that Dr Muzammil Ansari one of the convicts, was threatened and pressurised to give wrong confession. Khan said irrespective of religion, Ansari help fellow prisoners in getting education.
Two men who know for the longest time in jail spoke on behalf of Ansari. One of them, Afroz Khan is awaiting judgment in a case of transporting weapons in Aurangabad in 2006, and Uday Pathak is infamous for murdering four men in Kurar in 2001.
Each man was questioned by Ansari’s lawyer, recalled how during their stint in Thane Jail, Ansari had helped many prisoners get an education.
Khan told judge P R Deshmukh that he met Ansari in Thane jail in 2008. “I had been suffering from tuberculosis and Ansari took care of me. He used to ask whether I was taking my medicines on time, and once when I had a bad cough, he put a wet cloth on my forehead,” he said.
“He used to read letters from my family for me and write my replies to them. He taught to me to read and write,” Pathak told the judge. Ansari similarly helped Khan to learn to read and write English and Urdu.
According to IE, both Pathak and Khan told the court that Ansari had earned the respect of fellow prisoners by helping them write applications to courts and jail authorities.
“Ansari had encouraged prisoners to enroll in courses offered at a centre run by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). “He also persuaded many inmates to take an exam on the life of Mahatma Gandhi”, said Pathak.
Pathak told the judge that when he met Ansari at Arthur Road jail in 2014 after a gap of a few years, Ansari did not recognise him at first. “After I told him he helped me study in Thane jail, he began to remember things,” he told the judge.
Pathak said that could have been the result of spending several years in a cramped cell. “The high-security cell is enclosed from all sides and there is only a grill in front of you. There is no space to roam. Three to four people are made to live in a space meant for one person. No sunlight or fresh air enters the cell. Only when you are taken outdoors you realise the sun has risen that day,” he said.