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Man jailed in country’s first child porn conviction

Man jailed in country’s first child porn conviction

LAHORE – In what appears to be the first kind of international child pornography case in the country’s history, a local court convicted a man to seven-year rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs 1.2 million.

The convict was found to have acted in close nexus with the global child pornographic racket for the sake of financial benefits.

Saadat Amin, 41, from Sargodha, had been involved in this heinous crime for the last seven years during which he worked for the international child pornographic ring. The court convicted him under Section 22 of Prevention of Electronic Crime Act, 2016.

The court was informed that one terabyte (1,024 gigabytes), a massive obnoxious data, was recovered from the hard drive and the personal computer of the convict. The entire material was related to child abuse of third-degree. It was highly painful for the court to see that only minors ranging from the age of 6 to 12 were victims — the first case of its kind in the country’s history.

Amin was arrested by the FIA’s cyber crime cell on the request of Norwegian Embassy last year. The FIA told the court that the convict was the operative of an international racket operating in different countries.

The agency said he had been working from Pakistan for international child pornographers, including Jan Lindstorm in Norway, Giobani Betotti in Italy, Mukhtar and Andrew Moody in the UK and Max Hunter in the US.

Eleven prosecution witnesses recorded their statements, including the victims, their family members and officials of the agency, against Saadat.

Saadat’s counsel, however, said the FIA had failed to furnish solid evidence of his client’s involvement in the case. He said the agency could not investigate the foreign agents he was accused of working with and not the Norwegian agent who was said to be his close partner. He contended Saadat did not receive money for child pornography from any foreign agent.

After hearing the arguments of both sides, Judicial Magistrate Muhammad Amir Raza Baitu pronounced the verdict, declaring Saadat guilty of being part of the international racket.

“Saadat has been found guilty, convicted under Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016,” the judge held.

Prosecutor Monem Bashir told The Nation that it was the first-ever conviction under the new laws. “During the investigation, he found that he was working for an international child pornography network and huge data was recovered from his personal laptop and the office he was using in a Sargodha village,” said the prosecutor.

Last year, in an exclusive interview to The Nation, Saadat shared his entire story, revealing how he joined the heinous international child pornography. He said Jan Lindstorm asked Amin to help him search child modeling videos, download the same and send him so that he could sell the same to different customers across the world. He said the Norwegian also promised to help him get Norwegian citizenship in return.

“Search of child modeling led me to child pornography when Jan asked me if I could help him download child-modeling videos on Internet,” Amin confessed.

In April 2014, he said he bought the first album of child pornography to sell it to the Norwegian. The price of the first album was 250 Euros and he sold it for 300 Euros to Jan Lindstorm who became his trustworthy business partner at least for the next two years.

Saadat said he had got degree in mechanical engineering, but also had experience of hacking computers. He said in Dec 2015, differences took place between him and Lindstorm over a business deal and finally their network came to an end, which they had established for sharing porn videos.

“I broke the network system soon after the clash and started my own set-up of designing video games,” Saadat said, adding this was his own business and he has been running it since January 2016.

Amin claimed he left the sale of porn videos and broke the network in Dec 2015, but his Norwegian partner Jan Lindstorm continued it. His arrest in 2016 by the Norwegian police finally led the investigation to him. In November 2016, Norwegian Embassy wrote a letter to Interior Ministry which asigned the investigation to Federal Investigation Agency. The agency started the investigation on the basis of the material provided by the embassy to trace the suspect.

On April 11, the FIA team, headed by Cyber Crime Wing Assistant Director Mian Saqib arrested the suspect from a rented home in Corporation Town of Sargodha and booked him under sections 109 and 420 of Pakistan Penal Code as well as under sections 20, 21 and 22 of PECA, 2016.

The agency recovered 600,000 porn videos and pictures from the computer of the convict. According to the FIA, the convict had been involved in porn-video business since 2007.

Originally, he belongs to Malakwal of Mandi Bahauddin district, but has been living in Sargodha city in a rented house for several years, an officer told The Nation.

“The truth is that I was making gaming videos and selling them to my foreign partners. Mostly, I got these videos from websites of different countries, including Bangladesh, Russia and Ukraine sometimes by hacking these websites and sometimes by paying them,” Sadaat says.

Sadaat said he belonged to a poor family and that he could not earn money from the pornography business he had been doing for years. He lives in a rented house and pays Rs 3,000. He has one sister and mother in Malakwal while his father and a brother died several years ago. Being poor, he could not marry.

The FIA, however, said it had traced $ 35,000 through Western Union’s transactions and still investigation is underway to find out if he has more money.

The Nation

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