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IDHAE INFORMATION

 

On 25 April 2008, at approximately 12:15am, the car in which Parvez Aslam Choudhry, Aslam Masih, Ijaz Victor and Mubarak Masih were travelling was hit from behind and from the right-hand side by a red van. The back windscreen was broken, the bumper was damaged and there were minor injuries to all passengers. The members of LADS were on their way to Nasirabad police station to make an enquiry regarding a complaint they had filed on behalf of a client.

Front Line has previously issued an urgent action appeal about the attack suffered by Parvez Aslam Choudhry on 7 April 2008 when he arrived at court for a bail hearing on the same case of blasphemy, and the death threats he has received in relation to the case.

The complaints that Parvez Aslam Choudhry made about the attack on 7 April 2008 have now been registered (First Information Report [FIR] No 477 / 2008). However, an allegedly unfounded complaint (FIR No 478 / 2008) was filed hours after that of Parvez Aslam Choudhry, by Sadaran Bibi and Mohammed Jehangir, both of whom were involved in attacking him that day. Their accusations were against Aslam Masih under section 354 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) “Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty”. It is believed that these allegations were filed to distract attention from the accusation Parvez Aslam Choudhry had brought against Sadaran Bibi and Mohammed Jehangir.

Members of LADS and their families have received death threats and been attacked because of their work in the past. Most notably, on 11 May 2006, Rana Javed Refiq was killed whilst Parvez Aslam Choudhry and Ijaz Victor were hospitalised after the car in which they were travelling was reportedly rammed off the road. (Embedded image moved to file: pic26522.jpg)

Front Line believes that the attacks on the members of LADS and the accusations made against Aslam Masih are related to their legitimate work as human rights defenders, especially their work against discriminatory laws in Pakistan. Front Line believes that the attack and accusations are part of an ongoing trend of harassment against human rights defenders in Pakistan. Front Line is concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Parvez Aslam Choudhry, Aslam Masih, Ijaz Victor and Mubarak Masih, as well as that of all members of LADS and their families.

 

 

Please take action on behalf of Pakistani human rights defenders in Legal Aid for the Destitute and Settlement (LADS).

 

COPY THE ENCLOSED LETTER AND SEND IT TO THE ADDRESS PROVIDED.

 

Target adresses: 

Gen. Pervez Musharraf
Office of the President
Aiwan-e-Sadr
Islamabad
Pakistan

Letter: 

 

  : 

Your Excellency,

I am deeply concerned following reports of the attack against the vehicle carrying Parvez Aslam Choudhry, Aslam Masih, Ijaz Victor and Mubarak Masih, all members of Legal Aid for the Destitute and Settlement (LADS), and of accusations brought against Aslam Masih. LADS provides legal support to poor detainees and works against discriminatory laws in Pakistan.

On 25 April 2008, at approximately 12:15am, the car in which Parvez Aslam Choudhry, Aslam Masih, Ijaz Victor and Mubarak Masih were travelling was hit from behind and from the right-hand side by a red van. The back windscreen was broken, the bumper was damaged and there were minor injuries to all passengers. The members of LADS were on their way to the Nasirabad police station to make an inquiry about a blasphemy case in which Parvez Aslam Choudhry was the defence lawyer.

I have previously issued an urgent action appeal about the attack suffered by Parvez Aslam Choudhry on 7 April 2008 when he arrived at court for a bail hearing on the same case of blasphemy, and the death threats he has received in relation to the case.

The complaints that Parvez Aslam Choudhry made about the attack on 7 April 2008 have now been registered (First Information Report [FIR] No 477 / 2008). However, an allegedly unfounded complaint (FIR No 478 / 2008) was filed hours after that of Parvez Aslam Choudhry, by Sadaran Bibi and Mohammed Jehangir, both of whom were involved in attacking him that day. Their accusations were against Aslam Masih under section 354 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) “Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty”. It is believed that these allegations were filed to distract attention from the accusation Parvez Aslam Choudhry had brought against Sadaran Bibi and Mohammed Jehangir.

Members of LADS and their families have received death threats and been attacked because of their work in the past. Most notably, on 11 May 2006, Rana Javed Refiq was killed whilst Parvez Aslam Choudhry and Ijaz Victor were hospitalised after the car in which they were travelling was reportedly rammed off the road.

I believe that the attacks on the members of LADS and the accusations made against Aslam Masih are related to their legitimate work as human rights defenders, especially their work against discriminatory laws in Pakistan. I believe that the attack and accusations are part of an ongoing trend of harassment against human rights defenders in Pakistan. I am concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Parvez Aslam Choudhry, Aslam Masih, Ijaz Victor and Mubarak Masih, as well as that of all members of LADS and their families.

I urge the authorities in Pakistan to:

1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the attack on the car of the members of LADS with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice;

2. Drop all charges against Aslam Masih, as it is believed that they have only been brought against him because of his legitimate work as a human rights defender;

3. Guarantee the security and physical and psychological integrity of all members of LADS, as well as that of their family members;

4. 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.”

Yours sincerely,

 

TAKE ACTION NOW !.

 

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