Child prisoners deprived of legal help
PESHAWAR, Aug 9: Despite a law being in place on providing free legal aid to juvenile prisoners, many continue to languish in jails in the NWFP without having any access to the facility.
According to a press release issued by the Society for Protection of Rights of the Child (Sparc) here on Thursday, the section 3 of the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance, 2000 calls for legal aid at state expenses for juvenile prisoners.
The registrar, Peshawar High Court had sent a letter on
August 3, 2004, to all sessions judges directing them to form
a panel of lawyers for providing free legal aid to juveniles at state expenses. Panels in Peshawar, Mardan, Dera Ismail Khan, Swabi, Charsadda, Bannu, Upper Dir and Nowshera districts were notified.
However, the panels failed to minimise the suffering of the child prisoners, the Sparc pointed out.
Ijaz Mohammad Khan, a Sparc lawyer, said the society was providing free legal aid to 53 juvenile prisoners in Peshawar.
The Child Rights Committee has been giving legal aid to 62 juveniles in Swabi, Swat, Bunner, Dera Ismail Khan, Bunnu, Hangu, Dir Upper, Mansehra and Chitral since January, he added.
The Society for Protection of Rights of the Child requested the government, police and prison officials and the general public to bring to its notice if a child prisoner needed legal aid and could not afford the services of a legal practitioner in any major city of the NWFP.