ISLAMABAD: Heading a three-member Supreme Court bench on Tuesday, the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry noted that no one could be imprisoned without evidence and . The bench also comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Azmat Saeed directed the Attorney General Irfan Qadir to get instructions from the government over the issue of seven prisoners of Adiyala Jail Rawalpindi, detained by the agencies without evidence, otherwise the court would pass order over the matter.
During the hearing, the chief justice said that agencies had no excuse extending the detention of seven prisoners accused of terrorism being held in Parachinar internment centre. He said their detention was unlawful and could not be approved. He said the detainees should have been sent to prison if there was any evidence available against them.
The chief justice recalled that Raja Muhammad Irshad, counsel for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Military Intelligence (MI) had told the bench the other day (Monday) that evidence could not be found against the detainees.
“Since no evidence has been presented, thus the prisoners cannot be detained”, the chief justice added. He said the prisoners could be sent to jail if evidence was found against them. The court asked Raja Irshad to present the order authorizing the agencies to keep the prisoners for indefinite time, even without evidence.
Raja Irshad told the court that the accused prisoners were sent to detention centers according to law. The chief justice admonished Raja Irshad saying that ‘do you want that the clauses pertaining to fair trial and fundamental rights should be eliminated and if left to your discretion, there would be no courts in the country.
Raja Irshad said that agencies were convinced that the persons were involved in terrorist activities. To a court query, Raja Irshad said the prisoners were not tried under the Army Act.
The chief justice remarked that trial is carried out on the basis of evidence, if there is no evidence then how can there be a trial? He said action would be taken against those responsible if the detention was proved illegal.
The chief justice noted that seven prisoners had been in detention centres since June 26, 2011 without evidence, which was unlawful. The court expressed its displeasure over the failure of secretary Fata and the deputy attorney general to present the detainees’ records before the court. Later, the court adjourned the hearing.