KARACHI: The Deputy Attorney General (DAG) of Karachi was given a day’s time to find out the status of an ex-prisoner of Guantanamo Bay by the Sindh High Court on Thursday.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Musheer Alam, was hearing a constitutional petition filed by the Human Rights and Civil Liberties Society of Pakistan, which has challenged the continued house arrest of Qari Saad Madni, who was released by the US Federal Court of Appeal after he fell terminally ill due to alleged torture that continued for years.
Nisar A Mujahid, counsel for the petitioner NGO, submitted that Madni was arrested in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2002 and was then moved to Egypt, brought to Pakistan and then to the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan. He was allegedly kept in a sarcophagus inside a pyramid with a mummy for 96 days and was tortured.
His eardrums were damaged and his skull and brain cavity also degenerated.
His condition was discovered when some American lawyers and activists visited Guantanamo Bay.
An appeal was filed before the American Court of Appeals where Madni refused to be treated. The court ordered his release and he was repatriated to Pakistan after seven years, the counsel submitted.
He came to Pakistan in April 2008 and was allegedly detained in Adiyala Jail for two more months. As his condition deteriorated, he was shifted to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, where doctors recommended immediate surgery and asked the government to deposit Rs0.5 million.
After this he was released and moved to his ancestral residence in Lahore. The ex-prisoner was then placed under Schedule IV of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and was placed under house arrest. His family approached the NGO for help.
The petition maintains that the detention of Madni is illegal as no FIR exists against him in Pakistan. It asked the court to order his release.
When the petition came up for hearing on Thursday, the CJ called the authorities for immediate treatment of the former prisoner.
A DAG representing the federal government sought time to ascertain the status of Madni and whether he is under house arrest or not. The bench gave him a day to find out and then adjourned the proceedings till Friday.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2011.