Federal government will appeal Marriot suicide attacks acquittal

by William ASTON on July 6, 2010

The federal government announced it would go forward with an appeal against the four men involved in the Marriot hotel suicide attacks after they were acquitted in a Lahore High Court.

In the 5 May verdict, ATC-I Judge Malik Muhammad Akram Awan cited lack of evidence and not enough witnesses when he acquitted  Rana Ilyas, Dr Mohammad Usman, Tehseenullah Jan and Mohammad Hameed Afzal. However, the government will challenge the verdict under its ACT-I, section 265-K procedure code stating that the case was decided without a full material analysis of the accused.

According to the government, the trial court made a hasty decision while the prosecutor was unavailable during a trial on another case in anti-terrorism courts. Underlining a series of legal injustices with the case, the government has alleged that the judge did not want to incorporate an investigating officer’s statements.

The government has said that 128 witnesses were presented accusing the four men in the suicide bombing and that 84 had appeared directly before the courts, however the trial court acquitted even before all of them had managed to give statements. Additionally, the appeal states that the court did not even manage to consider the gravity of this case, and prior to hearing prosecution accepted plea deals from the accused.

The government has officially requested that the LHC remand the case back to the ACT so that a retrial can be conducted. Additionally, they want the judge to be instructed to consider all evidence from the prosecution prior to handing down a decision. According to the prosecution, the evidence is sufficient for a guilty verdict.

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