Chunian suspect remanded in physical custody

ATC judge orders suspect to remove cloth from his face in court


​ Our Correspondent October 03, 2019
PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: An anti-terrorism court has sent the prime suspect of the abduction, rape and murder of minors in Chunian to 15 days in physical remand. The prime suspect, Sohail Shehzad, is a criminal record holder.

Having already been convicted in a case of a similar nature in the past, the suspect was produced before the ATC in a grey shirt and trousers, while his face was covered with a black cloth.

ATC judge Abdul Qayyum Khan immediately asked police officials for the reason to cover the suspect’s face. The court was informed that the measures were taken for security reasons. “Remove the cloth from his face,” the judge ordered. As the cloth was taken off, the judge asked the accused if he had something to say. Sohail immediately asked that the police be restrained from beating him.

Deputy Prosecutor General Abdur Raoof Watto informed the court that the accused had already been produced in one FIR related to the abduction, rape and killing of Faizan alias Mithu, 8. He said the other charges against him were being probed by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT). He added the suspect could be produced in relation to other FIRs as there were four children who had been abducted, sodomised and killed.  He contended that Faizan was abducted on September 16, 2019, and the FIR was registered on the same day.

The body of the minor was found on September 17, 2019. Subsequently, the DNA of over 1,500 people was collected, while the JIT visited the site and found tyre marks of an auto rickshaw. The deputy prosecutor general said it was then decided that all auto drivers be investigated.

The prosecution sought the 30-day physical remand of the suspect, but its plea was turned down by the court. However, the judge granted a 15-day physical remand with orders to conduct a medical examination of the accused.

A reliable source said Sohail Shehzad's DNA matched with another one of the minor victim.

He said the JIT, in the first phase, initiated a drive to collect DNA from locals within a one kilometre radius of the crime scene. Posts were established to gather routine DNA samples from auto rickshaw drivers.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2019.

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