Photo courtsey AFP by Narinder Nanu
By Rashmi Talwar
Bhikhiwind (Amritsar) 24 June 2009————–
Family members of the Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh were inconsolable in their hometown Amritsar today, over Pakistan’s Supreme Court dismissal of a mercy plea filed by Sarabjit. The Pakistani Apex court upheld the death sentence for Sarabjit’s alleged involvement in bomb attacks in 1990 and dismissed his review petition.
Sister Dalbir Kaur, wife of Sarabjit Sukhdeep Kaur and daughters Poonam and Swapandeep, while talking here, alleged that the counsel for Sarabjit Raja Abdul Hamid had sent another lawyer Raja Abdul Rehman to appear in his place during the hearing of the review petition on Wednesday but he (the lawyer) ‘preferred’ to attend another court hearing instead, leaving the Pakistani Supreme court with no choice but to dismiss the mercy plea.
Ansar Burney called the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan as ‘Murder of Justice.’ “How you can hang a person who already spent more than a life sentence in the death cell.” Burney questioned with Court.
Sister of Indian Prisoner Sarabjit alleges ‘excuse’ by lawyer ‘flimsy’
Dalbir further said that during her talk with their Pakistani lawyer today he told them, that it would take him one month to prepare the second review petition.
Dalbir alleged that the ‘excuse’ by their lawyer was ‘flimsy’ as he had demanded a sum of Rs 6 lakhs more from them when they had earlier agreed to pay Rs 2 lakhs.” We had paid more than the agreed amount”,
“I do not want to reveal the name of Pakistani reporter who demanded Rs 6 lakhs”:Dalbir
And further added ,”Our lawyer Raja Abdul Hamid placed the demand to us at first through a Lahore based Pakistani reporter of a Punjabi Newspaper but lately came out openly with the demand to us. At this moment, I do not want to reveal the name of the reporter “, she said
Canadian Human Rights Association head Sheetal Das Kaler was fighting Sarabjit’s case, that had grabbed the headlines due to allegations of Sarabjit being convicted under false identity of one Manjit Singh. Since his conviction, Sarabjit has been languishing in Pakistani jail for nearly 18 years, after being awarded the death sentence for alleged bomb blasts which he pleads were not of his doing. Sarabjit has contended that he strayed into Pakistan territory in an inebriated state in 1990 and has no role in bomb blasts attributed to him by the Pakistan government. Sarabjit has been on death row since he was convicted for alleged involvement in four bomb blasts in 1990 that killed 14 people.
A three-member bench of Pakistan Supreme court led by Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed on Wednesday dismissed Sarabjit’s review petition and upheld the death sentence awarded to him by an anti-terrorism court in 1991.
It is pertinent to mention that the verdict was given by the apex court after Sarabjit’s counsel failed to appear in court.
The court noted that Sarabjit’s counsel had failed to appear in court for the past few hearings, including the last one on Monday.
Rana Abdul Hamid, the lawyer representing Sarabjit, had appointed another lawyer Raja Abdul Rehman after the former’s appointment last year as an additional advocate general by Punjab province.