SC urged to review verdict on mily courts death sentences

ISLAMABAD -  The Supreme Court has been urged to review its judgment on death sentences awarded by military court in the interest of justice.

The Supreme Court in its 182-page judgment, announced on August 29, had dismissed 17 appeals against the death sentences awarded by the military courts.

Sher Alam, uncle of convict Jamil-ur-Rehman, filed the review petition through Asma Jehangir, while convict Aqsan Mehbood submitted the petition through advocate Col (retd) Muhammad Akram under Article 188 of Constitution on Tuesday.

The petitioners contended that the apex court did not take into consideration errors apparent on the face of the record.

Asma Jehangir submitted that the top court judgment presumed guilt and has thus taken away the most basic guarantee of due process during trial even in the military courts and has travelled beyond 21st Amendment and Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act (PAAA), 2015.

She said the PAAA 2015 and 21st Amendment are protected under the constitution that does not oust the application of fundamental rights guaranteed in the constitution, while trying the civilians in the military court.

Asma stated that the august court did not address the argument that initially her client was arrested many years ago under Action (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulations, 2002, which has been challenged as being ultra vires of the constitution. She said the case is partly heard and its adjudication was necessary before declaring the military trials of accused/convict as being without malice in law.

The petitioner claimed the judgment has ignored the fact that record of the trial court was not disclosed to the counsels and was opposed vehemently before the august court as well. The record was only shown to the legal counsels after the intervention of the apex court and that too they were not allowed or permitted to take any notes of the records.

The apex court judgment has overlooked the fact that even under rules 84, 85, 86 and 87 of Pakistan Army Act Rules 1954, a counsel is defined as a person to be properly qualified and is a legal practitioner authorised to practice with right of audience in a court of sessions in Pakistan.

The petitioner also claimed that the apex court judgment ignored that the confession made (if at all) after many years of illegal detention and isolation was made under duress and was thus not made in voluntary manner.

The military courts were established after the 21st Amendment in the Constitution and the changes in Pakistan Army Act (PAA), 1952. The convicts were members of religiously motivated terrorist organizations and were involved in attacking the armed forces and the law enforcement agencies and caused death of civilians and army officials.

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