HRCP calls for a fair trial of Dr Shakil Afridi

Published: May 25, 2012
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Human Rights Commission of Pakistan expresses concern over denial of due process rights to Dr Shakil Afridi. PHOTO: FILE

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan expresses concern over denial of due process rights to Dr Shakil Afridi. PHOTO: FILE

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed concern over denial of due process rights to Dr Shakil Afridi, the man convicted to 33 years in prison for helping the US find Osama bin Laden. The human rights body demanded that Dr Afridi must get a fair trial, irrespective of the charges against him.

A statement by HRCP on Friday said, “one is concerned about the security of the country, but that cannot be made the basis of denying rule of law to anyone. HRCP notes with concern that the trial of Dr Afridi falls well short of the due process standards on many counts, not least because the core principle of natural justice has been ignored and Afridi denied due legal assistance.”

Terming charges of treason against Dr Afridi controversial, HRCP said that Dr Afridi’s actions may have been prompted by the “declared policy of the state to fight all forms of terrorism in sincerity”.

“Irrespective of the charge against him, there was no reason for trying Afridi in a tribal court, when the supposed offence had taken place in Abbottabad… 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 of Pakistan,” the statement added.

HRCP further called upon the government to ensure that Dr Afridi gets a fair trial and is given ample opportunity to defend himself against the charges brought against him, which is “every citizen’s right”.

Afridi was sentenced to 33 years in jail, having been found guilty of treasonous charges by a tribal court operating under the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR). The FCR is a special judicial system employed in the tribal areas and by-passes the regular justice system.

Verdict violation of human rights

Former Supreme Court Bar Association president and senior Human Rights activist, Asma Jahangir termed the punishment awarded to Dr Shakil Afridi by a tribal court a violation of the government doctor’s human rights.

In a statement issued on Friday, Jahangir said Dr Afridi should be given the opportunity of defending himself in an open trial and be allowed to engage a counsel for his defence.

She said former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf had admitted in his book that Pakistani citizens had been gifted to America against dollars but he remained unpunished. But a common citizen (Afridi) did the same and he was sentenced to 33 years in jail, she added.

She regretted that the establishment of the country had not learnt any lesson from time. The punishment to Dr Afridi will cause an irreparable loss to Pakistan, she concluded.

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Reader Comments (34)

  • Roflcopter
    May 25, 2012 - 8:35PM

    Fair trial like Dr Aafias?

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  • SHABBIR BHEDA
    May 25, 2012 - 8:56PM

    M/s Human Rights Commission, how about a fair trial for Afia Siddique and all those at Guantanamo. Where are you guys when America and Israel breach all resolutions passed by the UN. Please , give us a break.

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  • faraz
    May 25, 2012 - 9:11PM

    Shakeel Afridi is a Pakistani citizen, and deserves a fair trial. We should be fist concerned about Pakistan rather than Israel

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  • Mirza
    May 25, 2012 - 9:14PM

    The more we plead the case that Pakistan is not helping the terrorists and have no feelings for them the establishment proves us wrong. Why are we so upset and emotionally involved in the long detention of Dr. Afridi for working against OBL? Is working against OBL and getting rid of him is working against Pakistan? We gave Shamsi Airbase to Americans but to provide info about OBL is treason to Pakistan? What would be the stand of Taliban and Al -Quaida on this, and why our stand is the same as their?

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  • Umer
    May 25, 2012 - 9:16PM

    @Roflcopter:

    Fair trial like Dr Aafias?

    What was wrong with it? It was an open court trial where Afia accepted her links with Taliban. If you expect terrorists to be rewarded like in Pakistan then that is a different matter.

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  • Wonderful
    May 25, 2012 - 9:17PM

    Finally a sane voice

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  • Umer
    May 25, 2012 - 9:19PM

    @SHABBIR BHEDA:

    M/s Human Rights Commission, how about
    a fair trial for Afia Siddique and all
    those at Guantanamo. Where are you
    guys when America and Israel breach
    all resolutions passed by the UN.
    Please , give us a break.

    Its Human Rights Commission of Pakistan not Human Rights Commission of the World and run mostly voluntarily. You are putting too much responsibility on them. Besides what has legal issues in Pakistan got to do with what happens or not in other countries?

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  • AnisAqeel
    May 25, 2012 - 9:33PM

    @SHABBIR BHEDA:
    @Roflcopter:
    Dr. Aafia’s trial may not be fair for you or for some others but that was her being a terrorist and Dr. Shahid Afridi’s is on eliminating the world’s number one terrorist that caused us where we are today.
    If Dr. Aafia’s open court trial was not fair after all the Pakistan Government’s support, expenses and propaganda help, then I will doubt any trial in any civilized country.
    Dr. Shahid helped army while not reporting them but to the USA as one is helpless if the ‘guards’ is an accomplice to a thief or robber himself.
    Lets give chance to justice by an open trial just as Dr. Aafia got, fair or unfair.Recommend

  • sick of this nonsense
    May 25, 2012 - 9:38PM

    @Roflcopter:
    two wrongs dont make a right

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  • Muhammad Hamid Ullah
    May 25, 2012 - 10:04PM

    we should raise our voice against FCR law which are prevailing in tribal since long.Recommend

  • what
    May 25, 2012 - 10:11PM

    free him

    for 1 man you are making america your enemy

    america will get reason to say pakistan is terrorist state if you not release him

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  • May 25, 2012 - 10:21PM

    Keeping it to Pakistan, why is there no reaction from HRCP or anybody else when common people are persecuted in political agent court? Are those trials fair enough?

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  • Concerned
    May 25, 2012 - 10:41PM

    Pakistan intent became suspect when it decided to try the doctor in a tribal court and charges of treason is untenable since OBL was a notorious terrorist and Pakistan being the US’s ally fighting war against terror should have awarded Afridi but instead passed a 33 years sentence on him which has invited world wide condemnation.

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  • Zabandraz
    May 25, 2012 - 10:44PM

    Where was human rights commission when the Americans picked up Aafia from Pakistan, took her to Bagram,. tortured her and finally after a long period of torture they tried her in a kangroo court on a stupid charge and jailed for 93 years????

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  • Javed Mateen
    May 25, 2012 - 11:16PM

    Another wrong decision by the establishment we are trying to make America our enemy what will we get from this more trouble.He should be given a free trial.

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  • WhatTheWhaa?
    May 25, 2012 - 11:21PM

    Expect Asma Jahangir to always support and sympathise with anti-state defendants. He is likely he was tried under tribal and not constitutional law because that would have automatically warranted a death sentence.

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  • Critique
    May 25, 2012 - 11:28PM

    Okay you all need to calm down here. This is the Human Rights Commission OF PAKISTAN – they have no authority to force fair trials for Guantanamo prisoners and Aafia Siddiqui.
    Secondly, I agree about punishment for Dr Afridi, but still think he should be given a fair trial. To all those who are suggesting Afridi should be rewarded for his efforts in killing the world’s most wanted man – I’ll ask you one question… Name me one country that allows its citizens to act as spies for another country, be it an ally or an enemy?

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  • Philip
    May 25, 2012 - 11:53PM

    What has happened to the trial of Sufi Mohammed? The court decided on the Doctor in no time, and the Sufi Mohammed case has dragged off and on for years.

    Why doesn’t the US trade Dr. Aafia for Doctor Afridi?

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  • Anjum
    May 26, 2012 - 12:03AM

    Long sentence for treason. He is sold today, tomorrow others. Good verdict. His duty was to collaborate with own media, agencies etc.

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  • Anjum
    May 26, 2012 - 12:05AM

    This man got a fair trial according to the law of Pakistan. Respect it.

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  • Harry Stone
    May 26, 2012 - 1:01AM

    It would appear PAK desires to make an enemy of the US. I would say they are doing a fine job of it.

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  • Paki
    May 26, 2012 - 1:25AM

    Reference to the comments about Dear Dr helping nab OBL. A fine point may have been missed by you all. There is a difference between nabbing OBL with Pakistan govt involvement and working with a foreign secret service agency without our army or govt knowing anything about it.

    Secondly the dear Dr did not know that he was helping nab OBL. So essentially he worked with CIA for money and that my friends is a definition of an agent isn’t it .

    Btw guess what our proclaimed hero of humanity does to foreign agents caught working inside its own borders

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    May 26, 2012 - 1:27AM

    There is no diving line as what is fair and what is unfair.

    What about the extra-judicial killings of uncounted people who are tortured in the Police custody and when they are about to die, these live bodies are handed over to their relative and after some days these people die.

    Dr. Afridi was an American Spy. Had he informed government of Pakistan about the presence of OBL, today Pakistan would have not been facing the embarrassment..

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  • Cautious
    May 26, 2012 - 1:50AM

    One would think that someone in Pakistan’s hierarchy would have enough common sense to know that this trial/verdict would get Worldwide attention — so why in the World didn’t you provide this guy with an attorney and hold the trial under std Pakistan law in Islamabad? It seems you never lose a chance to shoot yourself in the foot and reinforce your image as a defender of terrorism.

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  • Babbarsher khan
    May 26, 2012 - 2:22AM

    This calls for suo motu by J C of S C of the land of pure!

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  • Umer
    May 26, 2012 - 2:37AM

    @WhatTheWhaa?:

    Expect Asma Jahangir to always support
    and sympathise with anti-state
    defendants.

    I don’t recall her sympathising with Lal Masjid Goons. What are you talking about?

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  • Uzair Javaid
    May 26, 2012 - 2:40AM

    to all those lifeless indians trolling here with Pakistan Aliases, get a LIFE !! or at least spew out your hatred in the typical hypocritic manner with an indian name. I see a lot of those as well who have no credible or logical support for Shakeel Afridi. No country would allow its citizen to be used for an intelligence agency other than that of its own. He is a traitor and met his fate likewise!

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  • Malek Tauqee/Towghi (Baloch), Ph.D.
    May 26, 2012 - 3:01AM

    History will remember Dr. Shakil Afridi as a great brave and enlightened Pashtun who stood up against the dark forces responsible for the destruction of his land and the region. I salute Dr. Shakil Afridi. Humbly, Malek Tauqee (Baloch), Liaison, Baloch Human Rights International

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  • Basit
    May 26, 2012 - 3:19AM

    So the covert CIA agents in HRCP are concerned about the openly admitted CIA agent Shakil Afridi. To liberals, taking money from foreign intelligence agencies is not a big deal.

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  • freedom
    May 26, 2012 - 4:39AM

    Whats about people being killed on daily basis in drone strikes. Do’nt they deserve a (fair) trial before execution? USA is not concerned about Shakil Afridi. Instead they are afraid that this punishment will demoralise other CIA agents working in Pakistan.

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  • Jawad
    May 26, 2012 - 2:01PM

    Either some of the commentators are acting naive or they are plain stupid for wondering why Shakil Afridi is imprisoned and not rewarded by Pak .. I believe, a proper trail should have been conducted and a lawyer should have been provided to him .. and then he should have either faced the firing squad or be hanged. working covertly for foriegn secret agencies is treason and there are no 2 opinions about that. The Shakeel guy had no idea on whose trail he was working on .. he did all that for money .. he should have been made a horrible example for the rest of the ‘colaborators’ of foreign agencies !!!!! imprisonment for mere 33 years is too soft for him !!!

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  • Ak
    May 26, 2012 - 2:05PM

    All the NATO Aids should think on this issue, to make a perfect state. Peace in Afghanistan will only arise if the terrorism is Stopped in Pakistan. Shakeel Afridi Is the real hero and it is very shameful for this nation to be done such kind of act with Shakeel Afridi.

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  • Mahar Akram
    May 27, 2012 - 12:05PM

    U r right my freedom friend.Recommend

  • Krish Mohan
    May 28, 2012 - 10:40AM

    I am an Indian and I live in the USA. I would die for India and for the right cause would do the same for the USA. I was very happy with the May 2011 raid on Bin Laden’s house and the outcome. But I do not support Dr. Afridi. As a private citizen, he could have helped the US hunt down Bin Laden, but not as a Doctor. A doctor, lawyer or any other professional should NEVER betray the Doctor/Patient, Attorney/Client privileges for anything. Pakistanis should remember that their country was created when Dr. BB Desai (a Hindu) did not reveal when his client MA Jinnah had lung cancer and had only months to live. Had the congress known, they would have balked and the history of the sub-continent would have been different. In my opinion Dr. Afridi has committed the ultimate treason, that of against his profession.

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