Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mother challenges son's military court conviction in Pakistan Supreme Court

The Express Tribune reports here on an effort by the mother of a man who was convicted in a military court to have the Supreme Court of Pakistan hear the case. The Peshawar High Court had refused to do so, and the question now -- or soon, since there was a technical flaw in the petitioner's power of attorney -- will be whether Supreme Court review of such cases is a reality. Over the summer, the Supreme Court had upheld the 21st Amendment under which the military courts were authorized, but a majority also held that cases would be subject to review in the civilian courts.

The woman's complaints about her son's case are disturbing. Excerpt from Express Tribune:
She submitted that her son was convicted but no such trial was ever held as per requirement of the law and no such witness was ever produced. 
She said that the military authorities also did not provide the convict any document connecting him with the commission of the crime and her son was also denied permission to engage a counsel. The petition said the PHC dismissed her plea over unavailability of the convict’s record. 
It said the high court’s judgment was not in accordance with the directions and observations made by the SC in its judgment on 18th and 21st constitutional amendments case.  
“Whether the question of coram – non-judice want of jurisdiction and mala-fide including malic[e] in law – alleged and pleaded by the petitioner in his writ petition has been rightly and legally decided by the high court,” it questioned. 
The petition said that no material had been shown which might lead to proof beyond reasonable doubt that the convict had actually and physically participated in the assaults made on the government and public properties and personnel of the law enforcement agencies and the public. 
It contended that the convict was arrested in 2011 and kept in detention under the Action in Aid of Civil Power Regulation 2011 whereas trial of the convict was held after 4 years by a military court. 
The petition said the convict was taken by military personnel, handcuffed and blindfolded, and he was told that he was being produced before the court but he did not see any court with his own eyes and he was not given a chance to cross examine the witnesses nor any witness was produced in his presence.

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