SC suspends release order of 196 inmates indicted by military courts

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday suspended the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) order to release 196 people, who were convicted by military courts on terrorism charges.

The apex court’s three-member bench, under Justice Musheer Alam, heard the case today.

In today’s hearing, the bench summoned details of the cases against the individuals from the federal government.

During the proceedings, Justice Qazi Ameen said that these people received sentences after a trial from the military courts, adding that every case has separate facts and evidence.

The judge’s remarks came against the PHC verdict which said that the prisoners were indicted without a fair trial and their confessional statements were recorded under duress.

Wrapping up the hearing, Justice Musheer Alam issued notices to the concerned parties in the case for next Friday.

PHC overturns military sentences

The PHC, earlier this month, overturned the convictions of 196 individuals who had been sentenced by military courts, and ordered their release.

The court, in its verdict, mentioned that these people were accused on the basis of a confessional statement and not provided a chance at fair trial.

In March, the apex court sought from the Ministry of Defence, the complete record on the allegations against the persons convicted by the military court and the details of the evidence supporting the convictions.

The PHC had earlier also upheld several cases of military convictions in 2018, where the SC had to intervene as well.

On November 2, 2018, the apex court had restrained the jail authorities to release 70 terror suspects, convicted by military courts, involved in different terrorist activities in the country.

A two-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed had heard appeals of the Defence Ministry against the verdict of PHC, acquitting all the 68 terror suspects released by military courts due to lack of evidence.

The PHC had overturned the death sentence of around 70 people convicted by the military courts on terrorism charges and declared that all these are cases of no evidence and based on the malice of facts and law.