Defused suicide jackets: ATC sends suspected bomber for medical test

Says interrogation can only take place if he is not declared a juvenile.

Our Correspondent November 22, 2012

PESHAWAR: A Peshawar Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) has sent a potential suicide bomber for a medical examination to determine his age.

Bilal, allegedly 12 years old, was produced before ATC Judge Ibrahim Khan on Wednesday after he was caught with a suicide jacket a night before.

Instead of putting him behind bars the judge ordered that the boy’s age be determined and handed him to Sarband police. He was brought to the court in a heavily armoured vehicle.

Police had requested that Bilal be given a six-day physical remand so they could carry out further investigations, but the request was overruled. The judge said that Bilal may be a juvenile and interrogating him under these conditions would be against the law.

He will be produced before court again today (Thursday).

Rash decision?

Police had asked Bilal to lie on the ground at a CNG station after they stopped him with an alleged accomplice on a motorcycle on Ring Road.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Special Branch AIG and head of bomb disposal squad (BDS) Shafqat Malik said that they could have made a fatal mistake as he could have used a trigger to explode the vest while lying on the ground.

Malik said a military-grade explosive had been used to create the vest but luckily no trigger was attached to it. “The trigger was carried by the man who was driving the motorbike,” he said.

The target of the explosion was not clear, but Malik suspected that it could have been a Muharram procession.

In the past few years, the BDS has successfully removed four vests from potential suicide bombers, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2012.



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