Juvenile offenders lack access to legal aid' -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Juvenile offenders lack access to legal aid’

PESHAWAR, May 17: The Society for Protection of the Rights of Children (Sparc) has expressed concern over non-availability of legal aid to juvenile offenders in different districts of the province.

In a press release issued here on Thursday, the organisation said that section 3 of the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance obliged the government to provide free legal aid to juvenile offenders. However, most offenders continue to languish in various prisons of the province without any access to legal aid, it added.

The organisation said that the Peshawar High Court registrar had sent a letter on Aug 3, 2004 to all district and sessions judges asking them to form a panel of lawyers for providing free legal aid at state expenses.

It added that such panels had already been notified in Peshawar, Mardan, Dera Ismail Khan, Swabi, Charssadda, Bannu, Upper Dir and Nowshera districts, but the panels had done very little to end sufferings of the child offenders.

Sparc said that providing free legal aid to juvenile offenders was one of their prime objectives. The organisation claimed that from January 2007 till March 2007, they had provided free legal aid to 46 child offenders in different districts. In Peshawa, legal aid was provided to 18 juvenile offenders.

Sparc committees in Swabi, Swat, Buner, Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu and Chitral provided free legal aid to 28 juvenile prisoners.
Source: Dawn