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IDHAE INFORMATION

 

On 8 April 2008, at approximately 12.00 midnight, Parvez Aslam Choudhry , Chairman of Legal Aid for the Destitute and Settlement (LADS) in Lahore, received an anonymous telephone call threatening both him and his family. Parvez Aslam Choudhry was reportedly told he was to be killed because he was a Christian lawyer defending a Christian person accused of blasphemy. Similar threats were also made against him inside the court by witnesses. The case in question concerns a former Christian who converted to Islam before marrying Muslim woman.

On 6 April 2008, Parvez Aslam Choudhry was attacked by a large mob when he arrived at court for the bail hearing. His car was damaged and the mob threatened to kill him. Parvez Aslam Choudhry's application for the court to take legal action was accepted but action has reportedly yet to be taken.

Parvez Aslam Choudhry has previously been the subject of death threats. Front Line believes that the attack and death threats against Parvez Aslam Choudhry are an attempt to dissuade him from continuing with his legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights. Front Line is concerned for his security and physical and psychological integrity, as well as that of his family members.

 

Background information :

Parvez Aslam Choudhry, is the chairman of a Lahore-based legal group : the NGO "Legal Aid for Destitute and Settlement" (LADS), which provides legal assistance to impoverished detainees and works against discriminatory laws in Pakistan, Parvez Aslam Choudhry is a Member High Court Bar Association and Member Lahore Bar Association in Pakistan, and former president Christian Lawyers Association Pakistan (CLAP).

Parvez Aslam Choudhry has defended many blasphemy accused in the High Court Pakistan, both Muslim and non-Muslim, and has been attacked on several occasions. He has been in danger before because of his work against the blasphemy laws. In 2003 he was assaulted while defending a blasphemy case. He filed a complaint with the police, but says they took no action.

He received frequent death threats while defending blasphemy case against one Younis Masih, a Christian who was allegedly charged with flinging a burning matchstick on November 12, 2005 in the Quran Mahal, a Islamic school situated in the Sangla Hill stadium which caught fire and is at risk of being sentenced to death.

Parvez Aslam Choudhry has received numerous anonymous telephone calls, and has been physically assaulted outside the court. On 26 January on his way to the jail where he hoped to visit Younis Masih, a van drove into his car causing him minor injuries. Some of the men in the van got out and began to attack him as he sat in the car, but got back in the van and drove off when friends of Parvez Choudhry approached.

Younis Masih’s lawyer, Parvez Aslam Choudhry, has received threats, including death threats, during and since the trial.
On 11 May 2006, unknown assailants deliberately rammed their car into Parvez Aslam Choudhry’s car, which then was pushed off the road and fell forty feet. One passenger, lawyer Rana Javed Rafiq, died instantly. Parvez Aslam Choudhry and his colleague Ijaz Victor were hospitalized for a number of days after the incident. On two occasions in February and July 2006, Parvez Aslam Choudhry was threatened at gun point by Muslim men who warned that his life was in danger if he continued to represent blasphemy cases.
The judge in the case ordered the Punjab police to provide Choudhry with protection, but he has stated that this order has not been implemented.
In 2003, Parvez Aslam Choudhry has been awarded the Bishop John Joseph Award by Pakistan Minorities Front for his outstanding work in defending the rights of minorities at considerable personal risk .
On 17 April 2006, the Lahore Bar Asscociation (LBA) has nominated Parvez Aslam choudhry as "Chairman Jail Reforms Comittee of LBA for year 2006 to 2007. This is first time in the history of LBA that one Christian lawyer is being appointed as chairman of any any comittee of Bar.

 

TAKE ACTION NOW

 

Please take action on behalf of Pakistani human rights defender Parvez Aslam Choudhry.

 

Copy the enclosed letter and send it to the address provided.

Thank you for taking action on behalf of Parvez Aslam Choudhry.

 

WRITE FOR PARVEZ ASLAM CHOUDHRY  :

 

ADRESSES:

 

General Pervez Masharraf

Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Prime Minister House

Islamabad

Pakistan

 

 

Your Excellency,

On 8 April 2008, at approximately 12.00 midnight, Parvez Aslam Choudhry received an anonymous telephone call threatening both him and his family. Parvez Aslam Choudhry was reportedly told he was to be killed because he was a Christian lawyer defending a Christian person accused of blasphemy. Similar threats were also made against him inside the court by witnesses. The case in question concerns a former Christian who converted to Islam before marrying Muslim woman.

On 6 April 2008, Parvez Aslam Choudhry was attacked by a large mob when he arrived at court for the bail hearing. His car was damaged and the mob threatened to kill him. Parvez Aslam Choudhry's application for the court to take legal action was accepted but action has reportedly yet to be taken.

Parvez Aslam Choudhry has previously been the subject of death threats. I believe that the attack and death threats against Parvez Aslam Choudhry are an attempt to dissuade him from continuing with his legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights. I am concerned for his security and physical and psychological integrity, as well as that of his family members.

I urge the Pakistani authorities to:

1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the reported attack and death threats against Parvez Aslam Choudhry, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice; 2. Guarantee the security and physical and psychological integrity of Parvez Aslam Choudhry, as well as that of his family members; 3. Ensure that all human rights defenders in Pakistan, including lawyers, carrying out their legitimate work in the defence of human rights, are able to operate free of restrictions and reprisals.

I respectfully remind you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals.

I would particularly draw your attention to Article 9 (1): ”In the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms including the promotion and protection of human rights as referred to in the present Declaration, everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to benefit from an effective remedy and to be protected in the event of the violation of those rights”, to Article 11: “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to the lawful exercise of his or her occupation or profession (...),” and to Article 12 (2): “The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threat, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”

 

(SIGNATURE)

 

 

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Iran in your respective country.

 

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.

 

 

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