Officer, civilian convicted of espionage challenge death penalty

Court admits petition, rejects appeal seeking stay on execution

Qaiser Sherazi June 29, 2019
Lahore High Court. PHOTO: EXPRESS

RAWALPINDI: A senior military officer and a civilian doctor – awarded the death sentence on espionage charges by the field general court martial – have challenged their convictions in the Lahore High Court Rawalpindi bench.

Justice Mirza Waqas Rauf of Rawalpindi bench have accepted their petitions for initial hearing and ordered Attorney General Pakistan, Home Secretary Punjab and Secretary Defence to submit their replies in two weeks.

Brigadier (retd) Raja Rizwan and Doctor Wasim Akram, who were tried in separate cases under the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act, were given the death penalty, while a three-star retired general, was sentenced to 14 years rigorous imprisonment for “leaking sensitive information”.

Brig Rizwan’s petition has been filed by his wife Nadira Batool, while Dr Wasim’s petition has been filed by his father Muhammad Akram under Article 199 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

Officers convicted of espionage handed over to civil jail authorities: ISPR

The counsel of the petitioners, Brig (retd) Muhammad Wasif Khan, pleaded that the special military court awarded the capital punishments to his clients on May 30, which were endorsed by Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

They were handed over to authorities in Lahore’s Adiala Jail on June 1, where they are currently being held, the counsel said, adding that his clients were worried that they could be executed at any time as the sentences have already been ratified by the army chief.

With the rejection of their appeals from the Military Court of Appeal, the authorities can carry out the sentence at any time, he said.

“Therefore, we will not be able to file appeals at any legal forum,” he said while pleading the court to issue a stay order against the execution of the sentences.

He added that in light of the judgements of the Supreme Court, the two appeals were maintainable.

While rejecting the appeal to issue a stay order against the executions, Justice Rauf admitted the petition and the court issued notice to the attorney general seeking his reply on the issue in two weeks.



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