Dr Faktoo’s incarceration in contravention to int'l conventions: Legal Experts

Muslim League Chairman In Continued Detention For Over 20 Years


Srinagar, Sep 6: Continued detention for over 20 years of Muslim League Chairman Dr Muhammad Qasim Faktoo has courted an opinion from legal experts which terms the incarceration ‘against the International Conventions’ and is evaluating the punishment as ‘cruel and unusual’.
 Pointing out that human rights legislations and conventions cannot be skipped in Dr Faktoo’s case, senior lawyer and Constitutional expert, Syed Tassaduq Hussain while commenting on the 20 year incarceration of Faktoo said; “The constitution of India provided the concept of liberty and equality from the established canons of the 14th amendment of the US constitution and the entire matter requires to be looked at from the angle of human rights legislations and conventions ratified by various agencies of the United Nations organization that form the corpus of modern democratic jurisprudence.”
 Tasaduq said India is a signatory to the declaration of Human Rights and myriad conventions adopted by the UN General Assembly and according to the precepts laid down by Indian Supreme Court; the International Conventions are to be read into domestic law.
 “I have examined six judgments of US Supreme Court that have condemned any cruel and unusual punishment. In my view as a student of constitutional law, there is no gainsaying that any incarceration beyond 20 years is cruel and unusual which falls foul of Article 21 of the constitution,” Tasaduq said.
 “This obligates the International Commission of Jurists to take up this matter with various agencies of United Nation for mobilizing a campaign for abrogation of such cruel punishments that are being inflicted by the Criminal Courts in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
 When sought his opinion on Dr Faktoo’s life imprisonment, eminent lawyer, Z A Shah said there are strong and powerful grounds supporting the view that life imprisonment in reality amounts to deprivation of life.
 “A lifer is incarcerated till he breathes his last and in reality there is no difference between hanging and life imprisonment in the context of deprivation of life, which is the end result of both the courses,” he said.
 He said world over death penalty has been abolished except in few countries including India and Pakistan.
 Senior lawyer Reyaz Khawar said Faktoo has been convicted under TADA on the basis of some confessions made before some police officers and confession before a police officer is not admissible as evidence under international covenants and international laws. “Even under Indian laws criminal justice system, the confession before a police officer was made admissible as evidence under TADA and POTA and under international pressure and pressure from Indian civil society both the acts stand abolished,” Khawar said.
 On charges of “being a member of an outlawed organization whose aim is the secession of J&K from Union of India”, Dr Qasim was first detained in 1993 under Public Safety Act. After six years of imprisonment, a TADA court acquitted him of all the charges, but police arrested him again at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in 2002 when he was returning from London where he had participated in a conference on Kashmir. In 2003 he was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of involvement in murder of noted Kashmiri Pandit human rights activist, Hriday Nath Wanchoo in 1992. Dr Qasim denied the charges.
 After Dr Qasim challenged his detention, the court directed the government to review his case, and on 3 June 2008 the government constituted a Review Board comprising then DGP Prisons and Principal District and Sessions Judge Srinagar to consider Qasim’s release under the provision of J&K Jail Manual 2000.
 The Board had written to the government that Qasim had served 14 years in prison and therefore he could be considered for premature release.
 The Jammu and Kashmir High court last year in its ruling on a petition by Dr Faktoo ruled that life imprisonment means detention for the whole life.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 6 Sep 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 6 Sep 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 7 Sep 2013 00:00:00 IST

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