Tuesday, November 27, 2007

IBA condemns targeting of lawyers by Pakistan authorities

International Bar Association, November 27, 2007

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) today condemned the continuing arrest and detention of lawyers in Pakistan, despite the Government’s claims that it was easing emergency rule.

‘It was claimed that the deposed Chief Justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had been released from house arrest,’ said Dr Phillip Tahmindjis, IBA Programme Lawyer. ‘However, when lawyers went to see him at his home last Tuesday they were prevented by the police from doing so and one of them, Athar Minallah, was later arrested without charge.’

Many lawyers remain in custody in Pakistan, including the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Aitzaz Ahsan.

‘It appears to be more than a mere coincidence that Mr Minallah and Mr Ahsan have both been critical of the government,’ Dr Tahmindjis added. ‘Mr Ahsan was one of the Chief Justice’s defence counsel.’

The IBAHRI is monitoring the situation to ascertain whether lawyers who supported the Chief Justice in their professional capacity are being particularly targeted.

For further information/expanded commentary, please contact:

Romana St Matthew - Daniel

Press Office

International Bar Association

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E-mail: romana.daniel@int-bar.org

Website: www.ibanet.org

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