Thursday, April 16, 2015

Asma Jahangir files petition against death sentences by military courts

April 16, 2015


Islamabad: Supreme Court (SC) has stayed the execution of condemned prisoners, including six militants convicted by military courts.

The court has maintained “the execution will remain stayed unless the court gives decision.” Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Nasir ul Mulk remarked “as we are hearing the matter of challenging some amendment, therefore, it is highly essential that these convictions be stayed. If we accept these petitions and someone is hanged in the meantime then how he will return.”

Justice Jawwad S Khawaja has remarked “under article 9 of the constitution, protection is provided to the life of that person. Why there is any need to show haste. These sentences can be implemented later. Let us decide first.” Justice Asif Saeed Khosa remarked “when SC had declared military courts illegal, then two persons were hanged till that time. This is very sorrowful matter. We don’t want such thins now.”

A full bench of SC comprising 17 judges and presided over by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Nasir ul Mulk, took up  for  hearing  a petition filed by Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) seeking interim order, for staying execution of condemned prisoners  Thursday.

The court inquired from Attorney General (AG) that petition has come seeking staying of execution of  prisoners, who have been awarded death penalties by military courts what he says about it.

AG said military courts are authorized under 21st constitutional amendment to convict the accused in cases like this. This impression is wrong that some institutions, including army are sacred cow. Constitution has conferred this mandate upon military courts. Whosoever are court-martialed under clause 133-b of army act, has right to resort to appellate forum.

CJP remarks “you know it well that we are hearing the case related to 21st constitutional amendment, therefore it is necessary that execution of the persons be stayed under this petition.

AG while objecting to it said “you cannot do so. When the accused have every right to file appeal plea then why are you staying it.” Justice Asif Saeed Khosa remarked “under article 10-A of the constitution fair trial has been ensured. Where will it stand? We don’t want that someone is executed prior to court’s decision.”

The court issuing interim order on the petition filed by Asma Jahangir stayed the execution of 6 persons who were convicted and awarded death penalty by military courts. Asma Jahangir on behalf of SCBA filed another miscellaneous petition, in a case against the military courts set up under 21st constitutional amendment making federal government respondent.

She has taken plea in this petition that “it has come in media that military court has awarded death penalty to 6 militants and life imprisonment to a militant. Media has also reported that no other information is available in respect of the convicts. 21st constitutional amendment cannot undo fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution. All the amendments are introduced in the light of fundamental human rights. Did the military court try to provide information to the accused by adhering to articles 10, 10-A, 12, 13 and 14 of the constitution. Whether the arrested persons were enemy aliens? Were the accused produced before the magistrate within 24 hours. Prisoners cannot be deprived of the right of fair trial under article 10 of the constitution.”

Asma Jahangir prayed the court to issue, interim order staying execution of militants sentenced to death by military courts. The hearing of the case was adjourned till April 22 on receipt of information of heart attack in respect of wife of a sitting judge of full bench of court.

http://nation.com.pk/national/16-Apr-2015/asma-jahangir-files-petition-against-death-sentences-by-military-courts

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