HRCP opposes trial of May 9 protesters under army laws

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) strongly opposed the decision to try May 9 miscreants under the Pakistan Army Act 1952 and Official Secrets Act 1923.

The HRCP tweeted on Wednesday that “due process” should be followed while trying them.

“HRCP strongly opposes the use of the Pakistan Army Act 1952 and Official Secrets Act 1923 to try civilians. While those responsible for arson and damaging public and private property during the recent protests should be held to account, they remain entitled to due process," the rights body tweeted.

In another tweet, it also mentioned that “all those civilians tried under these acts in the past should also have their cases transferred to civil courts.”

Army’s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) issued a statement on Monday that the military decided to try vandals under the military's acts.

The PTI workers resorted to violent protest after the arrest of party chief Imran Khan last week and attacked public property and military installations in different cities.

In a special Corps Commanders Conference held at the General Headquarters with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir in the chair, it was decided to try protesters and their abettors under relevant laws, including the Pakistan Army Act and the Official Secrets Act.

Moreover, the global human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, has sharply criticised Pakistan for announcing plans to use military laws to prosecute those responsible for arson during recent protests sparked by the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

In a statement on Tuesday, Amnesty International described the controversial move as alarming and contrary to international law, and demanded it be struck down immediately.

"This is purely an intimidation tactic designed to crack down on dissent by exercising fear of an institution that has never been held to account for its overreach," said Dinushika Dissanayake, Amnesty International's deputy regional director for South Asia, referring to the all-powerful Pakistani military.

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