PESHAWAR: On Wednesday, a member of the Christian community detained in the Peshawar Central Prison moved the high court to demand his release from the extended ‘illegal’ custody.
Shakeel Masih said in the petition that he had been detained without trial for around 10 years, although the details of his alleged crime and imprisonment were absent from the related court papers in the Khyber Tribal District.
He demanded that his arrest be deemed unlawful, unconstitutional and against his human rights by the judge.
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Shakeel Masih said that after every 14 days, without assigning any justification, the trial court had prolonged his judicial remand to hold him behind bars.
Claims he has been kept in Peshawar jail for a decade without trial
He ordered the court to declare the unconstitutional orders of the trial court by awarding judicial detention in violation of the fundamental rules of criminal justice without recording any reasons.
The petitioner demanded his release, arguing that nothing is on record to prove his role more than a decade ago in the killing of military officials in the Khyber area.
Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel, a lawyer noted for public interest cases, filed the petition.
The respondents in the petition are the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa via attorney general, provincial inspector general of prisons, interior minister, public prosecutor of Khyber district, district and session judge of Khyber district, and superintendent of Peshawar Central Jail.
The petitioner claimed that he was arrested about 10 years ago on charges of killing some military officials in the Khyber tribal region, but there was no evidence of any records to that effect, including the FIR.
He argued that he had been arrested without any legal reason, as there was no FIR or any incriminating evidence against him.
The complainant claimed that no documentation relating to his case, as required under the Code of Criminal Procedure, had been given to him.
He said that for about a decade he had been taken daily to the court’s grounds, but the staff took him back to the jail without bringing him before the appropriate judge.
The plaintiff asked if it was possible for him to issue his judicial warrant to hold him behind bars for an indefinite time because records of his case were not available to the judge.
He argued that the trial court should have either convicted him or released him on parole before the necessary papers were available as there was no proof of his supposed complicity in the killings or the details of his prosecution were lacking.
The plaintiff argued that, under Section 265-K of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the trial court had the right to acquit a convict where there was inadequate proof against him or her, and the complainant and witnesses had not appeared before him.
He argued that the equal trial opportunity guaranteed in Article 10-A of the Constitution had been refused to him.
The applicant claimed that, for any plausible excuse, he had been stripped of his rights, which was a breach of Article 9 of the Constitution.
Lawyer Saifullah Muhib told Dawn that his client’s father tried his case first, but there was nobody to prosecute it after he died a few years ago.
He said that his family members were asked to keep quiet about his case according to the inmate and they were reluctant to come forward, so he tried this case from the jail.