Suspects want fair media coverage
By: Israr Ahmad
RAWALPINDI: The defence lawyers on Saturday filed an application with Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Rawalpindi Number 1, urging it to either implement its earlier order of in-camera trial of Mumbai attack case or open the proceedings for media and public.
Special Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman, who has been trying the seven accused arrested in Pakistan in connection with Mumbai attack case, issued notices to the prosecution and the FIA to respond to the plea of the defense lawyers by January 12, 2013. The seven accused facing in-camera trial at Adiala Jail in the application they moved through their lawyer Riaz Akram Cheema Advocate, stated that the print and electronic media have continuously been covering the proceeding mainly against them.
They including Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the November 26, 2008 Mumbai attacks, have argued that recent media reports citing the statements of the certain FIA officials as prosecution witnesses, saying the accused trained and helped the attackers in India. Therefore, the court was requested to implement its earlier order of in-camera trial or open the proceeding for media and the public. On this, ATC No 1 issued notices to prosecution and FIA to respond the application filed by the accused on January 12, 2013.
Riaz Akram Cheema Advocate, while talking to media men, said that it was on May 5, 2009 when the prosecution filed an application with the ATC No 1, saying the proceedings should be conducted in-camera. He said that the prosecution citied international ramification of the case and highlighted the need to safeguard the national interest and image.
The applicant also cited the security needs of the trial judge, lawyers, witnesses and the accused, he added. Later on July 25, 2009 the ATC declared the trial in-camera stopping media from reporting the details of the proceedings and asked the lawyers not to disclose the details of the proceedings.
The defense lawyer said that they had urged on the court either to implement its in-camera order or allow media persons attend the proceedings and public the details.