PHC Suspends death sentence of military court’s convict

PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Wednesday stayed execution of a convicted militant and suspended the sentence of death awarded to him by a military court on multiple charges of terrorism.Chief Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Ikramullah Khan issued notice to the ministry of defence directing it to submit records of the case.

They also put on notice the relevant additional attorney general asking him to appear before the court on next hearing. The bench later fixed June 22 for next hearing of a writ petition filed by one Alam Khan, whose brother Mohammad Umar, was convicted by the military court and he was declared a member of the banned militant group, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.

The ISPR, media wing of Pakistan Army, had on May 3, 2016, announced that the Chief of Army Staff had confirmed death sentences awarded to 11hardcore terrorists by the military courts. Name of the present convict Mohammad Umer was also included in that list.

About Mohammad Umar, the ISPR had stated: “The convict was an active member of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. He was involved in attacking Armed Forces of Pakistan and Law Enforcement Agencies which resulted in death of soldiers and injuries to police officials. He was also involved in fabrication of explosives. He admitted his offences before the Magistrate and the trial court. He was tried on 3 charges and awarded death sentence.”

Barrister Ameerullah Khan Chamkani appeared for the petitioner and contended that detainee Mohammad Umar was a resident of Battagram district and was taken into custody by the law enforcing agencies from Mansehra on Aug 10, 2014.

He contended that the 23-year old detainee had remained missing for almost two years and finally on May 4 his family members came to know about his conviction by the military court through media reports.

He argued that the detainee was not provided a fair trial and the proceedings, if any, of the military court shrouded in mystery. He added that the family members of the detainee believed that he neither was a member of TTP nor was involved in any act of terrorism.

The petitioner has requested the court that the proceedings of the military court, if any, on the basis of which his brother had been convicted and sentenced to death, may be declared void, illegal and without lawful authority. He stated that so called trial was an infringement upon several rights of the detainee guaranteed under several provisions of the Constitution of Pakistan.

CONTEMPT NOTICE ISSUED: The bench issued a contempt of court notice to prominent lawyer and columnist Babar Sattar for publishing a column in an English newspaper wherein appointments of additional district and sessions judges by the high court were criticised.

The bench directed Mr. Babar Sattar, who was present before the bench in connection with another case, to file a written reply to the notice within 15 days.

Mr. Sattar had published a column “In the name of justice?” in Feb this year in which the procedure adopted for appointment of 25 additional district and sessions judges in KP was criticised.

The bench inquired from him from where he had acquired the information given in the said piece.

Mr. Sattar said he had acquired the information from the website of the Peshawar High Court.

When the bench directed him to submit reply to the notice, Mr. Sattar asked whether it was a contempt of court notice to which the chief justice replied in affirmative.

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