Pak: `Shakil Afridi should receive fair trial`

Shakil Afridi has been sentenced to 33 years for treason for helping the CIA find al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

Lahore: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed its concern over denial of due process rights to Dr Shakeel Afridi and has demanded a fair trial for him.

Dr Afridi has been sentenced to 33 years for treason for helping the Central Investigative Agency find al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

"One is concerned about security of the country, but that cannot be made the basis of denying rule of law to anyone. HRCP notes with concern that the trial of Dr Afridi falls well short of the due process standards on many counts, not least because the core principle of natural justice has been ignored and Afridi denied due legal assistance," the Daily Times quoted from an HRCP statement.

The statement added that the question of trying Dr Afridi on charges of treason also remains controversial.

"His actions may well have been prompted by the declared policy of the state to fight all forms of terrorism in sincerity. Irrespective of the charge against him, there was no reason for trying Afridi in a tribal court, when the supposed offence had taken place in Abbottabad, nor for denying him a public trial or legal assistance of his choice," HRCP said.

"Such treatment has given rise to perceptions that the only reason he was tried by a tribal court was to deprive him of the rights guaranteed under the Constitution of Pakistan," HRCP added.

"HRCP calls upon the government to ensure that Dr Afridi gets a fair trial and is afforded an opportunity to defend him against the charge brought against him. That is every citizen`s right and there is no reason why Dr Afridi`s case should be an exception," it further said.


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