ADPAN – Pakistan:- NO EXECUTIONS BASED ON MILITARY COURT’S DECISION WITHOUT BEING ACCORDED THE RIGHT TO APPEAL

ADPAN

Media Statement – 22/9/2017

NO EXECUTIONS BASED ON MILITARY COURT’S DECISION WITHOUT BEING ACCORDED THE RIGHT TO APPEAL

Abolish the Death Penalty, And  Re-Introduce the Moratorium on Execution Pending Abolition

ADPAN is appalled reports that another 4 persons, tried by Pakistan’s military courts, may be executed soon after their death sentence was confirmed by the Chief of Army. This Military Court, which came into being in January 2015, for the purpose of speedily trying persons accused of committing terrorist offences, falls short of international fair trial standards and requirements, including the denial of the right to appeal.

Decisions of these military courts, unlike normal criminal courts in Pakistan, are not subject to appeals to the High Court and/or the Supreme Court.

This denial of the right to appeal means appellate courts will not have the  opportunity of  analysing  the  evidence  produced  before  the military court  or  dwelling  into the “merits” of the case.  This reasonably will increase the possibility of miscarriage of justice, and hence the likelihood of a person not deserving the death penalty (or even an innocent person) to be wrongfully deprived of his/her life.

The Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed on Wednesday(20/9/2017)  the death sentences awarded to four alleged ‘ terrorists’. This ‘confirmation’ is really an execution order, and this four persons could thereafter be executed at any time. (Geo News, 20/9/2017; Sify.com 20/9/2017; Dawn 20/9/2017; Pakistan News Service – PakTribune 21/9/2017 ).

Shabbir Ahmed,  Umara Khan,  Tahir Ali and Aftabud Din, according to a government statement, vide the Inter Services Public Relations, stated that these 4 persons  were ‘involved in killing of 21 persons and injuring another person’ and also that ‘…arms and explosives were also recovered from their possession…’. It also stated that they were tried by military courts that then sentenced them to death.

Earlier this month, on 8/9/2017, it was also reported that Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa  had confirmed the death sentence of four other persons, being Raiz Ahmed, Hafeez ur Rehman, Muhammad Saleem and Kifayatullah. (Daily Pakistan, 8/9/2017). These persons were said to have caused the death of 16 persons, and that arms were recovered in their possession. It was also disclosed that 23 others were also awarded imprisonment of various durations by the military courts.

Pakistan had a moratorium on executions for about 8 years, until the end of 2014, when it was lifted for terrorist linked offences, and thereafter for other capital offences. Since then, about 471 persons have been executed for various crimes.

After the December 2014 terrorist attack at the Army Public School in Peshawar, the Pakistan government set up this military court for speedy trial of detained terrorists. The military courts (Field General Court Martial – FGCM) came into being in January 2015, by virtue of Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act, 2015 commonly known as the 21st Constitution Amendment.  This legislation had a sunset clause, and would have expired on Jan 7, 2017.

However, in March 2017, President Mamnoon Hussain signed the 23rd Amendment Bill 2017, which has now become an Act of Parliament, that had the effect of extending duration of the military courts for another two years, starting from January 7, 2017.

Article 10 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights stipulates that, ‘Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.’ The trying and sentencing of a person/s allegedly committing a certain kind of offence before a special ‘court’, different from the  court having the jurisdiction to try criminal cases in Pakistan may also be considered discriminatory,

Article 14(5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Pakistan ratified in 2010, states   clearly that, ‘ Everyone convicted of a crime shall have the right to his conviction and sentence being reviewed by a higher tribunal according to law.’

The current unavailability of the right of appeal to higher courts on convictions and/or sentences of these military courts is clearly is a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and a denial of the right to a fair trial.

ADPAN calls on Pakistan not to proceed with the executions of persons convicted and sentenced to death by the military courts, until they have been accorded the right to a fair trial including the right to have the conviction and sentence reviewed by a higher tribunal, which would reasonably be the High Court and thereafter the Supreme Court of Pakistan;

ADPAN calls for the repeal of the Constitution Amendment/s and the law that created these military courts;

ADPAN calls for all persons charged with a crime in Pakistan be tried by the already existing criminal courts of Pakistan, and shall be accorded a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;

ADPAN calls on Pakistan to immediately re-impose a moratorium on execution, pending abolition of the death penalty.

 

Charles Hector
For and on behalf of ADPAN (Anti Death Penalty Asia Network)

Pakistan – 4 more persons death sentence by Military Court confirmed by Army Chief

On 20/9/2017, the death sentence of Pakistan's military court of 4 persons was confirmed. On about 8/9/2017, the death sentence of 4 others were also confirmed. The Military Court, that now tries civilians for alleged terrorist linked offences, came into being in 2015  - Below are some news report, plus also a news article entitled, 'Here's All You Should Know About Pakistan's Military Court

COAS confirms death sentence of four terrorists tried by military courts

Armed forces personnel transport militants in Lower Dir. Photo: File

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed on Wednesday the death sentences awarded to four “hardcore” terrorists involved in heinous offences related to terrorism, according to the army’s media wing.

The Inter Services Public Relations said in a statement that the suspects are accused of abducting/slaughtering of soldiers and attacking law enforcement agencies and armed forces personnel.

“On the whole, they were involved in killing of 21 persons and injuring another person. Arms and explosives were also recovered from their possession. These convicts were tried by military courts. They were awarded death sentence,” the statement reads.

Army chief approves death sentence for four terrorists

The army shared the following details of the accused:

1. Shabbir Ahmed, son of Muhammad Shafique. The convict was a member of a proscribed organisation involved in attacking armed forces personnel, which resulted in the death of Major Adnan and 10 soldiers. He was also involved in the kidnapping and slaughtering of four soldiers.

2. Umara Khan, son of Ahmed Khan. The convict was a member of a proscribed organisation and was involved in attacking armed forces personnel which resulted in the death of three soldiers. He was also involved in the destruction of Government Girls Primary School, Hazara. He was found in possession of firearms and explosives.

3. Tahir Ali, son of Syed Nabi. The convict was a member of a proscribed organisation and involved in attacking armed forces personnel, which resulted in the death of two soldiers.

COAS confirms death sentences of 30 hardcore terrorists: ISPR

4. Aftabud Din, son of Farrukh Zada. The convict was a member of a proscribed organisation and involved in attacking law enforcement agency personnel, which resulted in the death of a police official and injuries to another. He was found in possession of firearms and explosives.

All the convicts admitted their offence before the magistrate and the trial court, after which they were awarded the death sentence, said the army.

Earlier in March, President Mamnoon Hussain signed the 28th Amendment Bill 2017 extending military courts for another two years.

The bill, following the president’s signature, is now an Act of Parliament. Under this Act, the duration of the military courts has been extended for another two years, starting from January 7, 2017. – Geo News, 20/9/2017

 

Pakistan army chief confirms death sentences to 4 “hardcore terrorists”

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-20 21:38:57|Editor: Zhou Xin

ISLAMABAD, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) — Pakistan’s army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday confirmed death sentences to four “hardcore terrorists” who were awarded the capital punishment by military courts for committing offences related to terrorism, said the military media wing.

“The chief of Army staff confirmed death sentences awarded to four hardcore terrorists, who were involved in heinous offences related to terrorism, including abducting and slaughtering of soldiers, destruction of government girls school, attacking law enforcement agencies and armed forces of Pakistan,” a statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations said.

“On the whole they were involved in killing of 21 persons and injuring another person,” the statement said, adding that fire-arms and explosives were also recovered from their possession.

All of them were members of a proscribed organization based in Pakistan and were arrested from different areas across the country.

All of the convicts had admitted their offences before the magistrates and the trial courts, according to a statement.

The army courts were set up after the terrorist attack on an army school in the country’s northwest city of Peshawar in December 2014 for the speedy trial of the terrorism-related accused.

According to the legal experts, the convicts have the right of appeal to the president under the law. However, the president has previously rejected all the mercy petitions in terrorism-related cases. – Xinzua, 20/9/2017

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday confirmed the death sentences of four terrorists involved in killings of 16 individuals and injuring 8 others, said an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release.

The terrorists were involved in killings of innocent civilians, attacking law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and armed forces, army’s media wing said.

23 others have been awarded imprisonments “of various duration” by the military courts, according to the statement.

A Corps Commanders’ Conference in General Headquarters (GHQ), chaired by Gen Bajwa, “discussed internal and external security situation of the country and progress of operation Raddul Fasaad,” another ISPR press release said.

Details of the convicts provided by ISPR:

Raiz Ahmed s/o Ghularam Khan

The convict was member of a banned organisation. He was involved in attacking LEAs and armed forces which resulted in death of eight police and frontier constabulary officials, and injuries of five police officials. He was also involved in destruction of the Government Middle School, Aligrama. A firearm was found in his possession. Ahmed admitted his offences before a magistrate and the trial court. He was awarded death sentence.

Hafeez ur Rehman s/o Habib ur Rehman

The convict was a member of a banned organisation and was involved in killing of three civilians. He admitted his offences before a magistrate and the trial court. He was awarded death sentence.

Muhammad Saleem s/o Muslim Khan

The convict was member of a banned organisation. He was involved in attacks on LEAs and armed forces which resulted in death of four soldiers and injured another. A firearm was found in his possession. Saleem admitted his offences before a magistrate and the trial court and was awarded death sentence.

Kifayat Ullah s/o Dilresh

The convict was member of a banned organisation and involved in attack on armed forces which resulted in death of a soldier and injured 2 others. A firearm was found in his possession.He admitted his offences before a magistrate and the trial court and was awarded death sentence.


Pakistan had legalised military court trials of terror suspects for a period of two years in January 2015, soon after terrorists killed 144 people, mostly children, at an Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar. Military courts had been disbanded owing to a sunset clause on January 7 but resumed operations after Pakistan Army Act 2017 and the 28th Constitutional Amendment Bill came into force late March. – Dawn, 8/9/2017

Here’s All You Should Know About Pakistan’s Military Court That Gave Kulbhushan Jadhav Death Sentence

Maninder Dabas

May 24, 2017

479 SHARES

Pakistan’s infamous military courts are often called ‘Kangaroo Courts’ by the critics all over the world as they are known to sentence people without relevent evidence in the cases that are primarily aimed at vengeance against the rivals of the military establishment.

With former Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) official Lieutenant General (retd) Amjad Shoaib admitting that Pakistan abducted Kulbhushan Jadhav from Iran, Pakistan’s claims of Jadhav being arrested on Pakistan’s soil have got punctured once again.

Now India can further use his admission to sabotage Pakistan’s bundle of lies and expose how the military courts in Pakistan are dictating terms and taking decisions on people’s lives as per their whims and fancies.

Pakistan is the only country in South Asia where military courts trial the civilians behind closed doors despite it being against the country’s constitution. It’s no more a clandestine fact that military is the de facto government in Pakistan and the civilian government, judiciary and all other institutions aren’t even the rubber stamps.

Here is all you should know about military courts in Pakistan

Military courts don’t share any evidence against the accused and their four-star generals play demigods and sentence people punishment as per their fancies and Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case of no different.

Military Courts have a history, but lately, they came into being after Peshawar school attack

The terrorist attack on an army school in Peshawar on December 16, 2014, in which 140 people mostly school children had died paved way for the revival of military courts.

On January 6, 2015, Pakistan’s Parliament unanimously passed the 21st amendment of the Constitution which legalised special military court trials for hardcore terrorists which also included suspected civilians. The courts were revived for two years and in these two years the military courts had awarded death sentence to 161 militants and roughly 21 have been executed.

AP

In January 2017, the trial period of military courts had expired, but in March Pakistan parliament once again extended their period for two more years.

ADPAN – STOP HARASSMENT OF KIRSTEN HAN, ANTI-DEATH PENALTY ADVOCATE AND HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER

ADPAN

 

Media Statement – 5/9/2017

STOP HARASSMENT OF KIRSTEN HAN, ANTI-DEATH PENALTY ADVOCATE AND HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER

ADPAN(Anti Death Penalty Asia Network) is perturbed by the fact that Singapore is now investigating Human Rights Defender and Anti-Death Penalty activist, Kirsten Han, allegedly for illegal assembly, in connection with a candle light vigil hours  before Malaysian Prabagaran Srivijayan was executed at 6.00 am on 14 July 2017.

On 3/9/2017, more than 7 weeks later, 2 police officers showed up at her house and handed her a letter saying that they were investigating an offence of “taking part in a public assembly without a permit”. (FMT News, 5/9/2017). It must be noted that the police were present during the said vigil outside Changi Prison, which was attended by anti-death penalty advocates and family members, and it was allowed to proceed on condition that no candles were lighted.

As such, one could ask whether this current action by Singapore is an harassment of a Human Rights Defender and Anti-Death Penalty advocate.

Freedom of Expression and Peaceful Assemble is a universally recognized fundamental human right, as stated also in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. The impositions of requirements like permit applications and the need to give prior notice of several days to the authorities, effectively undermines the right to Peaceful Assembly and protest, which at most times needs to carried out speedily to be effective and/or relevant.

In the case of Prabagaran, on 13/7/2017,  there was a hearing of an application at the Singapore Court of Appeal for a stay of execution until an application before the Malaysian courts for a referral of the case to the International Court of Justice(ICJ) was heard and finally disposed off, which reasonably should have been granted. The Singapore Court of Appeal, heard and dismissed the application in the late evening, and decided that the execution proceed as scheduled at dawn on 14/7/2017. No appeal against this decision was practicable in the few hours overnight.

In these circumstances, where a life was in the balance, it is alarming to suggest that the peaceful assembly attended by respectful persons, under the watch of the police, hours before Prabagaran was hanged, was ‘illegal’ because no permit was obtained.

It is absurd, to even suggest that the peaceful assembly and protest attended by persons, hours before Prabagaran was hanged, was ‘illegal’ because no permit was obtained.

It must also be pointed out that 29 year old Prabagaran who was sentenced to death for the offence of drug trafficking allegedly committed in April 2012, maintained his innocence until the very end.

In Malaysia, on or about 20/7/2017, the authorities prevented the entry of Adilur Rahman Khan from Bangladesh, a current Executive Committee member of ADPAN, from attending and participating in the ADPAN General Assembly and Malaysian National Conference on ‘Abolition of the Death Penalty in Malaysia and in Asia-Pacific’ that was happening in Kuala Lumpur on 20-22 July. According to Adilur, no reasons nave been given by the Malaysian authorities for the denial of entry to date. Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) is currently investigating the matter, and we hope to hear their findings soon.

ADPAN is appalled by this growing trend of harassment and violation of human rights of Human Rights Defenders and anti-death penalty activists in the ASEAN region.

ADPAN calls for immediate discontinuation of this investigation against Kirsten Han, an anti-death penalty advocate and Human Rights Defender.

ADPAN calls for the removal of all hurdles and restriction that prevent the exercise of one’s fundamental right of peaceful assembly and protest.

ADPAN also reiterates its call for the abolition of the death penalty, and the imposition of a moratorium on execution pending abolition.

 

Charles Hector

Sarmad Ali

For and on behalf of ADPAN

 

The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) is a regional network of organization and individual members committed to working for the abolition of the death penalty in Asia-Pacific.