HRCP insists Mengal was kept in a cage -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

HRCP insists Mengal was kept in a cage

LAHORE, Jan 11: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has reaffirmed its findings on the manner in which the trial of former Balochistan chief minister Sardar Akhtar Mengal is being conducted, according to a press statement issued here on Thursday. The reaffirmation comes in response to the government’s denial of a HRCP statement. The HRCP had claimed that Mr Mengal was confined in an iron cage and was being kept away from his counsel during the trial. The HRCP press statement, signed by chairperson Asma Jahangir, says Mr Mengal was being kept in a “barred, metal structure, which can only be described as a ‘cage’”.

“He [Mr Mengal] was not able to sit with his lawyers and his small son, waiting outside, was not permitted to meet him till the end of the trial, whom the judge allowed him to do so.”The statement says a HRCP representative a former senator, law minister and attorney-general was present in the courtroom and did not ‘intrude’ into the courtroom as a government spokesman has alleged. “We stand by the statement of the HRCP representative and regret that rather than making any effort to address the issues highlighted, the government has resorted to making baseless allegations.”

The press statement says the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has learned from Sardar Akhtar Mengal that he is being held in solitary confinement and is allowed into a courtyard only for 30 minutes a day. It adds that the fact that the leader of the Balochistan National Party (Mengal) is being humiliated vengefully in this manner because he resisted illegal actions by intelligence agency personnel is appalling. “The HRCP denounces the holding of a trial within jail and demands that to ensure a fair, transparent and just process, representatives of bar associations and journalists be permitted to witness the proceedings of the trial and Mr Mengal be permitted free access to his lawyers. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan will continue to closely watch the trial.

Source: Dawn

Date:1/12/2007