Friday, December 25, 2015

How not to report on a judicial decision

The Express Tribune, a newspaper in Pakistan that is affiliated with The New York Times, has run perhaps the most superficial and least edifying report Global Military Justice Reform has ever read on a judicial ruling. Here is what appeared under the headline "Case closed: PHC upholds military court's judgment":
A division bench of the Peshawar High Court dismissed a writ petition appealing the court to set aside the death sentence awarded by a military court. 
The bench comprising PHC Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Irshad Qaiser heard an appeal filed by Mashooqa Bibi, a resident of Bajaur Agency. 
The applicant contended that her family was living near the Pak-Afghan border where her brother Aslam Khan was arrested. At the time when he was arrested by the border forces, he was crossing the border from Afghanistan to Pakistan. 
She said the family did not know about the whereabouts of Aslam, and on September 22, they came to know from media reports that he has been awarded a death sentence. He was convicted of carrying out attacks on security forces. However, she said he was not involved in such activities. 
She asked the court to set aside the military court judgment and release her brother. However, the bench upheld the military court judgment and dismissed the petition.
(There was one more paragraph about an unrelated drug case in a different court. It was equally superficial.)

What issues were raised (other than a claim that the defendant "wasn't involved")? What were the court's reasons? Will the case be taken to the Supreme Court of Pakistan? This pointless article leaves the reader totally in the dark.

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