Sarabjit lawyer moves SC to restore review petition

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - 21:47

Islamabad: The lawyer of Indian prisoner
Sarabjit Singh, on death row in Pakistan, today approached the
Supreme Court to restore a petition challenging his death
sentence, arguing that he was not represented by a counsel
when the matter was heard by the court.

Awais Sheikh, the new lawyer appointed by Sarabjit`s
sister Dalbir Kaur, said he had filed an application seeking
the restoration of the review petition that was dismissed by
the apex court on June 24.

"At the time of the hearing, Sarabjit was not represented
by a counsel in the Supreme Court. So I have filed an
application seeking the restoration of the review petition. I
am hopeful that the court will set a date for hearing the
matter within a week," Sheikh told PTI on phone.

The apex court had upheld Sarabjit`s death sentence while
dismissing his review petition last month. His previous lawyer
did not attend the hearing as he was then working as a
government advocate.

Observers pointed out that the Supreme Court had observed
in its ruling that it had "thoroughly studied" Sarabjit`s case
and found no grounds to review the death sentence given to him
by a lower court.

Legal experts believe only President Asif Ali Zardari can
now offer a reprieve to Sarabjit by pardoning him or commuting
his death sentence to life imprisonment.
Sheikh said he had submitted a mercy petition and a
letter from Sarabjit seeking clemency to the President`s
office. "I have also sought a meeting with the President so
that I can take up Sarabjit`s case with him," he said.

At the same time, Sarabjit`s sister Dalbir and rights
activists round the world are gathering one lakh signatures
for a petition seeking clemency for him.

"Dalbir Kaur has applied for a visa so that she can come
to Pakistan and hand over this petition to the authorities,"
Sheikh said.

Sarabjit has been on death row since he was convicted for
alleged involvement in four bomb blasts in Pakistan in 1990
that killed 14 people. His family insists that he was wrongly
convicted for the bombings.

He was set to be hanged on April 1 last year though
Pakistani authorities put off his execution indefinitely after
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani intervened in the matter.

Following an appeal by Sarabjit, the Lahore High Court
upheld his death sentence in 2003.

The apex court too upheld his death sentence in August
2005. Former President Pervez Musharraf dismissed Sarabjit`s
mercy petition last year.

Bureau Report

Sheikh said he had submitted a mercy petition and a
letter from Sarabjit seeking clemency to the President`s
office. "I have also sought a meeting with the President so
that I can take up Sarabjit`s case with him," he said.

At the same time, Sarabjit`s sister Dalbir and rights
activists round the world are gathering one lakh signatures
for a petition seeking clemency for him.

"Dalbir Kaur has applied for a visa so that she can come
to Pakistan and hand over this petition to the authorities,"
Sheikh said.

Sarabjit has been on death row since he was convicted for
alleged involvement in four bomb blasts in Pakistan in 1990
that killed 14 people. His family insists that he was wrongly
convicted for the bombings.

He was set to be hanged on April 1 last year though
Pakistani authorities put off his execution indefinitely after
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani intervened in the matter.

Following an appeal by Sarabjit, the Lahore High Court
upheld his death sentence in 2003.

The apex court too upheld his death sentence in August
2005. Former President Pervez Musharraf dismissed Sarabjit`s
mercy petition last year.

Bureau Report



First Published: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - 21:47

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