Govt urged to free Bagram detainees

PESHAWAR - The six Pakistani citizens who had been earlier released from Bagram prison in Afghanistan by the US authorities and currently imprisoned in Peshawar on Monday met their families on the directives of the Lahore High Court (LHC).
The LHC judge Justice Khalid Mahmood Khan is hearing a petition moved by the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) and since 2011 demanding the release and repatriation of Pakistanis detained at the Bagram jail.
The court ordered that these repatriated six Pakistani citizens must be allowed to meet their families and following the directives, they were allowed to meet their families members at central prison Peshawar.
Those who have been released from Bagram jail are Hamidullah Khan, Sabeel Suleman, Abdul Qadir, Muhammad Riaz, Abdul Karim and Falak Jan.
One of them Hamidullah Khan, was only 14 years old when he was illegally detained in 2008. Two others Abdul Qadir and Muhammad Riaz, were detained in 2005. None have ever been charged with a crime.
The family members of the released prisoners from Bagram jail warmly met their near and dear ones. However, they said that they should be freed after having been released by the US authorities. Unfortunately, the six repatriated citizen have now been re-detained under 40-FCR law, they said.
One Wakeel Khan, the father of one of the prisoners said that he had met his son after five years, adding, his son is innocent he must be released. Hammadullah, Hamidullah’s brother, said that it was a great occasion for him to see his missing brother. Almost five years ago, I was too young when my brother got missing. But, today I am very happy to see brother alive, he said.
The JPP, is a non-profit human rights law firm established in Lahore in December 2009, also provides legal services to the most vulnerable prisoners in Pakistan.
Hearing the petition, the LHC has directed the government to secure the immediate release of Pakistanis from Bagram.
In October 2012, the government submitted a list of six Pakistani detainees and it took over a year to repatriate them to Pakistan.
These six Pakistani citizens had been arrested by US authorities on suspicion but after not proving any charges against them, the authorities of the Bagram jail handed over them to the Pakistani authorities on November 16 last and since then, they have been kept at the central jail Peshawar.
Among the six being held now at central jail Peshawar, Abdul Qadir and Muhammad Riaz hail from Khyber Agency, Hamidullah and Sabeel Suleman from South Waziristan, Falak Jan and Abdul Karim from North Waziristan Agency. Approximately, they have spent from five to eight years at Bagram jail.
Talking to media persons Barrister Sara Bilal, Director at the JPP said that next hearing of the case would be held on December 5 at the LHC. She said that these innocent prisoners must be released as soon as possible.
She said that none of these repatriated Pakistanis have been charged with a crime, if they were, they might have not been released.
She said that the JPP would continue raising voice for prisoners rights.  

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