Shakil Afridi deserves a fair trial: HRCP

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The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has expressed concern at the denial of due process rights to Dr Shakil Afridi. Afridi has been accused of helping the US find Osama bin Laden and has been convicted to 33 years in prison. The HRCP has demanded that irrespective of the charges against him, Afridi must get a fair trial.
A statement issued by the HRCP on Friday said: “One is concerned about the security of the country, but that cannot be ensured on the basis of denying the rule of law to anyone. The HRCP notes with concern that the trial of Dr Afridi falls well short of the due process standards on many counts. The core principle of natural justice has been ignored and Afridi denied due legal assistance.” The HRCP stated that trying Dr Afridi on charges of treason was also questionable and that his actions may have been prompted by the declared policy of the state to fight terrorism. The commission added that irrespective of the charges against him, Afridi should not have been tried in a tribal court.
Such treatment has given rise to perceptions that the only reason he was tried by a tribal court was to deprive him of the rights guaranteed under the constitution, the HRCP statement read.
The HRCP called upon the government to ensure that Dr Afridi got a fair trial and was allowed to defend himself against the charges brought against him. That is every citizen’s right and there is no reason why Dr Afridi’s case should be an exception, said the HRCP.