Erode native arrested for keeping ‘ISIS flag’ in Coimbatore Central Prison cell, intimidating jail staff

December 15, 2023 07:07 pm | Updated 08:30 pm IST - COIMBATORE

The police have arrested an alleged ISIS-sympathiser hailing from Erode on charges of keeping a flag of the terrorist organisation drawn on a paper in his cell in the Coimbatore Central Prison and intimidating the jail staff.

The arrested has been identified as Asif Mustaheen (30), a native of Manickampalayam in Erode district, who had been serving judicial remand in the prison in an Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) case registered by the Erode north police in 2022.

As per a complaint lodged by a jailer with the Race Course police in Coimbatore, the prison staff found an ISIS flag drawn on paper when they searched Mustaheen’s cell on November 27 this year. It was found hidden in the pocket of a pair of jeans. As per the complaint, the remand prisoner tried to obstruct the jail staff from searching the cell, claimed allegiance to the terror outfit and stated they would face consequences if the flag was not returned.

It is also alleged that the accused had kept diaries written in Arabic, contents of which the police were yet to analyse.

The Race Course police registered a case against Mustaheen for offences under Sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 506 (1) (criminal intimidation) and 20 (punishment for being member of terrorist gang or organisation) of the UAPA on Wednesday.

As Mustaheen was lodged in prison, his formal arrest was recorded and a prisoner transit warrant was served on Thursday. He was produced before the Principal District and Sessions Court on Friday. District judge G. Vijaya remanded him in judicial custody till December 29 and he was lodged again in the central prison.

Mustaheen’s arrest in the new case came two days after he was granted bail by the Madras High Court in the UAPA case registered by the Erode police against him last year. Besides the UAPA cases, he faces another case registered by the Race Course police on charges of intimidating two jail warders of the central prison in October last year.

Meanwhile, Coimbatore south MLA Vanathi Srinivasan stated on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter) that the investigation of the new case against Mustaheen should be transferred to National Investigation Agency.

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