Monday, December 22, 2014

Military capital cases come under scrutiny in Lahore High Court

The Rawalpindi Bench of the Lahore High Court has stayed execution of five individuals who were sentenced to hang by courts-martial. The Nation reports:
Justice Arshad Mehmood Tabassum suspended the execution of death sentence and ordered the military authorities to hand over copies of military court proceedings to the said five persons, who would remain detained at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail until next hearing.
The federal government however challenged the stay order saying the counsel of the convicts, Laeeq Khan Swati, had concealed all the facts before the court. Standing Counsel for government Chaudhry Masroof in his application claimed that all the legal requirements were followed during the course of proceedings and the decision was given on merit. He requested the court to withdraw the stay order.
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. . . Swati argued in the court that Article 10-A of the constitution guaranteed the right of fair trial to all citizens. He claimed that military authorities had not provided any lawyer to his clients during the trial. He said their trial was conducted by Field General Court Martial and later their appeals were dismissed by the military court without providing the accused with copies of proceedings and the judgment. Similarly, he claimed, their appeals were dismissed by the military court of appeals without providing them a chance to defend themselves.
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“All these five men were not tried fairly and even lawyer was not provided to them. This is clear cut violation of Article 10-A of the constitution,” [advocate Col (r) Inam-ur-Rahim, Lahore High Court Bar Association Rawalpindi missing persons coordinator] said. He said that as per military representative claim that these five persons were facing murder charges; the military court could not try them as they were civilians.

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