Indian Supreme Court- Why Pakistanis in jail if sentence over ?


New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday expressed its anguish at mentally challenged and deaf-mute foreign nationals, mostly Pakistanis, who continued to languish in Indian jails long after completing their sentence and asked why the issue could “not be taken up at the highest level”.

Voicing deep concern over mentally unsound Pakistani nationals languishing in Indian jails even after completion of their sentences, the Supreme Court today asked the government why they should not be repatriated, saying such detention “pains us”. A bench headed by Justice R.M.Lodha said such matters should be taken up on priority basis and at the highest level when the top authorities of the two nations meet.

The bench was referring to 21 prisoners, 16 of whom are mentally unsound and five are deaf and dumb and are languishing in jail despite serving out their sentences.

“Should not such matters be taken up at the highest level when the heads of the state meet ?,” the bench asked while indirectly referring to the recent visit of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to India.

The court asked the Centre to find out in three weeks what can be done for sending back these prisoners to their country and posted the matter for further hearing on May 2.

“There is no doubt that the best of facilities are being provided to such prisoners in detention centre but the problem is why they are not being repatriated. What is the impediment? Such detention pains us,” the bench said.

“Top most priority has to be given to these cases. They are mentally unsound and deaf and dumb. They have served out their sentences. They have been kept in jail because of some problem but that cannot be an indefinite exercise,” the bench said.

The Centre contended that these people cannot be sent back without their identification being proved.

The bench then said, “How would you be able to do so even after six months or one year. Problem would continue. You must tell us what should be done.”

The court was hearing a PIL filed by J&K Panthers Party leader Prof. Bhim Singh seeking its direction to the Centre for repatriation of Pakistani prisoners lodged in various jails across the country even after completion of their sentences.

Mr. Singh submitted that photographs of these prisoners should be given by the Centre to the Pakistani government so that these could be published in newspapers there to prove their identification as they are mentally unsound.

The court, however, said that there is no problem in directing the Centre to give these photographs but it cannot compel Pakistani government to publish those pictures.

“The Centre cannot compel the Pakistan High Commission. Only some suggestions can be given. The lead has to be taken up by the Pakistan High Commission,” the bench said.

It further said that the prisoners cannot be sent without verifying their identification which could prove to be the worst situation for them.

As additional solicitor general PP Malhota sought more time so that he could sit with the petitioner, senior counsel Bhim Singh, the court adjourned the hearing till May 2.

IANS, PTI

104 Journalists and 30 Distributors in Prison in Turkey- BIA Media Monitoring Report 2011


March1, 2012

One hundred and four journalists and 30 distributors/members of the media were imprisoned as we entered the year 2012. In 2010, there were a total of 30 journalists in prison.- Bia Media Monitoring Report

The year 2011 was a year of mass journalist arrests. The Turkish Penal Code (TCK) and the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) were applied jointly in these arrests. All the arrested journalists were accused with having “connections with a terrorist organization,” be it “armed or not.” This led to a mentality that applied “politics” rather than “law,” and did away with the right to a fair trial and the principle of legality in crime.

One hundred and four journalists and 30 distributors/members of the media were initially “arrested” for “membership in an armed group” through journalism. Some of them are on trial for “committing an offense on behalf of the group without being a member of that group,” and/or “knowingly and willingly assisting a group although not being in the hierarchical structure of the group.” Some are on trial for setting up an armed or unarmed group, motivating and directing it, and/or being a member of it. The court has delivered a judgment in some of these trials.

Journalists were presented as “terrorists” through supplemental claims such as following-up news, covering news, writing books, opposing the government through journalism, and working for the Kurdish media.

In the trials, only six journalists are directly being accused for and charged with their news reports, articles or books: Vedat Kurşun, Ruken Ergün and Ozan Kılınç, editors-in-chief of the Azadiya Welat newspaper, Erdoğan Altan, Batman representative of Dicle News Agency (DİHA), Diyarbakır representative Kadri Kaya, and Bedri Adanır, owner of the Aram Publishing and an executive of the Hawar newspaper.

Despite the fact that arrest is a precautionary measure and can be replaced with judiciary control provisions, criteria such as “danger of absconding,” “destruction, concealment, alteration of evidence,” “influencing the witnesses,” and “intense and strong suspicion of crime” were applied as ordinary and routine practices. These served as grounds for the arrest of journalist and to keep them under arrest for months or even years.

All journalists except one, and all distributors are currently in prison for “connections with a terrorist organization” under the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) and Turkish Penal Code (TCK). Sixty-four of the 104 journalists and all 30 distributors are from the Kurdish media.

BIA Media Monitoring Report 2011/Full Text

 

‘Free political prisoners’


Arun Fererreira talk about Sudhir Dhawale

In his first public appearance after getting bail, Arun Ferreira, alleged Naxalite, spoke about the plight of political prisoners in India, at an event held by the Committee For Release of Political Prisoners in Mumbai yesterday.

Amidst a jam-packed hall swarming with journalists and activists, Mumbai-based Arun Ferreira, alleged Naxalite, made his first public appearance after he was released on bail from Nagpur jail recently. Ferreira, after returning to Mumbai, had refused to speak to the media. This much-awaited press conference came almost a week after his release. The event was organised by the Committee For Release of Political Prisoners at the Press Club in South Mumbai, yesterday. While shutterbugs clicked away, Ferreira took his position on the dais along with other members of the committee. Dressed in a blue jeans and a blue shirt, a small card dangling from his shirt pocket read ”FREE SUDHIR DHAWALE. The purpose of the event was to inform the media about the plight of political prisoners and eventually call for their release. “I have come here to highlight the plight of political prisoners in our country. Who are these political prisoners? Sudhir Dhawale is one of them. He was arrested in Gondia because the police claimed that he supports Naxalism. The evidence against him was a book, which he had written some six years ago. This book was used as evidence against him. Is this democracy?” asked Ferreira.

He further added. “Since 2011, none of us have been produced before the Sessions court in Gadchiroli. This is unacceptable.” Talking of another incident, Ferreira said, “In Nagpur, you have privatised bus service. The employees from the public transport department demanded that they wanted permanent jobs. They started protesting for the same. Without giving any explanation, the government jailed them for 15 days. Jailed for what? Jailed for demanding their rights. Can you call these people criminals?” Ferreira, who completed his master’s thesis on ‘political prisoners in India’, pledged to fight for their cause till the end. He said, “I also wanted to address the issue, where people are being re-arrested, time and again. After acquittal, the police slap some more charges against them. Then you are again arrested, and this is an endless cycle. It goes on and on. In 2007 when I was arrested there was no chargesheet or FIR against me. I was in jail and suddenly my name started cropping up in a few cases, where the police stated that I was absconding. Finally when I was acquitted, the police slapped two more cases against me and I was re-arrested. Data obtained from the police department might state that the number of so-called Naxals arrested has increased over a period of time, but most of the arrests being made are not new. A large number of people have been re-arrested again and again. In fact the former Principle district judge of Gadchiroli SS Ahmed had commented on this modus operandi of the police and the way they deal with political prisoners.”

 Torture
P A Sebastian, President of the Committee For Release of Political Prisoners, said, “Many like Arun, who are languishing in jails, are not criminals, but political prisoners. Their views and the states’ views are not similar and this is the reason they are confined in jails and tortured for years together.” Out on bail after four years and eight months, Ferreira has filed a criminal writ petition against the state and others before the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court, demanding compensation of Rs 25 lakh. Ferreira had been acquitted in 11 different cases and one case is still pending before the court. When asked if he sympathised with the Naxals , Ferreira refused to elaborate. Instead, Maharukh Adenwalla, spokeswoman , Committee For Release of Political Prisoners, answered, “If somebody’s opinion or views happens to be different from the state’s he/she is made out to be a Naxal. This is in order to fit into their scheme if things.” Ferreira later explained, “Whenever the state sees red, it retaliates. Any ideology that is different than the state’s ideology is perceived as a threat. Nowadays you see any sort of movement that questions the policy of the state has been suppressed.” When a member of the audience asked, if he was in favour of violence, Ferreira replied, “There are movements, which were meant to be non violent. Due to circumstances, violence creeps in. In such a scenario, it is not right for one to back out from the movement. At least, I wouldn’t do that.” Ferreira admits that life in prison has taken a toll on his health. “The police has mastered a technique where a person will be tortured, but there will be no visible marks on his body. I too faced that. A doctor is supposed to check our heath after every 14 hours. The doctor will ask us if there is pain in any part of our body, but he/she will not take note of what we say. One of my co-accused was tortured. Police put petrol in his rectum, but when the doctor gave his report, he said that the person had piles.” He added that the prison manual too needs to be changed. “The prison manual is archaic and there are no rules or regulations in a jail. Everything is decided by the jailor. From how much food you eat to how many letters you can write or receive. If you have enough money you will have a better place to sleep, if you don’t then you are miserable. Even in jails, money is everything. Caste, creed and everything else is very much prevalent in jails too. It is not an equaliser.”

Statement
When asked about his alleged statement about Maoists and Shiv Sena, Ferreira clarified, “There were reports that during narco analysis, I had said that many political parties, including Shiv Sena and its chief Bal Thackeray, have been funding Maoist activities in Mumbai. But this is false. One Dr Malini, who was in charge of the narco analysis, which was conducted in Bangalore, asked me a lot of questions. She asked me for which organizations I had worked, to which I told her about various activist groups I have been associated with. I also told her that various political parties like the Congress and the Shiv Sena have youth wings. The doctor did not know anything about the Shiv Sena. Hence, I had to explain to her that the Shiv Sena is a party and Bal Thackarey is its chief. This was then edited and put together and reports claimed that I had made that statement.”

While Ferreira spoke on various issues, he refused to answer any question related to his family. At the end of the event, when somebody asked him how he survived all these years, Ferreira tersely replied, “I too am surprised, how I survived all these years.”

Who is Sudhir Dhawale?
A resident of Byculla, Sudhir Dhawale, an activist was arrested from Wardha railway station by a team of Gondia police and a team from the Nagpur division of ATS, while trying to board a train to Mumbai. He was taken to Gondia and produced before a local court which awarded police his custody until January 12, 2011. He was also booked for waging war against the state and charged with sedition

Midday- Sudheshna Chowdhury

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