Supreme Court acquits death row prisoner jailed for 20 years

Top court acquits Mazhar Farooq after extending benefit of doubt

Hasnaat Mailk November 26, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday acquitted a death row prisoner incarcerated for two decades after extending him the benefit of doubt.

A three-judge special bench of the apex court headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa heard Mazhar Farooq's five-year-old appeal against the confirmation of his death sentence by Lahore High Court in 2009.

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Farooq, a resident of Kasur, was involved in one Nisar Ahmed's murder. A case was registered against him in 1992, and he was arrested in 1996. The bench, while extending benefit of doubt acquitted the death row prisoner, raised questions regarding the postmortem being conducted 24 hours after the murder. The bench also observed that the medical report contradicted witness statements.

The bench further noted that two of the co-accused had already been acquitted on basis of incorrect witness statements. The court held that Farooq's bullet cases did not match with the pistol used in the murder. In view of these contradictions, the bench extended benefit of doubt and acquitted the man after 20 years of imprisonment.

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Speaking to The Express Tribune, counsel for the complainant Asghar Ali Gill said the court’s judgment was legally correct due to several flaws in the investigation. He further revealed that Farooq was also involved in killing two other people but had been acquitted by making a compromise in one case. Witnesses had retracted their statements in the other, he said.


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