Release Kashmiri convicts: Geelani | ‘Govt using Technicalities to keep Dr Qasim in Jail’

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By: Umer Maqbool
Srinagar, Dec 3: Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Saturday sought the immediate release of the detainees convicted by the courts within and outside the state.
“Twenty nine detainees, including the chief of Muslim League Dr Muhammad Qasim Faktoo, should be set free immediately as the government has no legal and moral justification to keep them behind the bars,” Geelani said while addressing a news conference at his Hyderpora residence here, where he continues to be under house arrest.
“We seek their (convicts) unconditional release as they did not get justice in the courts. Our youth who were booked on baseless charges outside and they were unable to defend themselves due to hefty fees charged by lawyers for pleading their cases,” he said.
Geelani said government has ignored Supreme Court’s directive to keep convicts in jails near to their homes.
Terming the continuous detention of Muslim League chief, Dr. Muhammad Qasim Faktoo as “political vendetta” and “illegal”, Geelani said there is no justification for the government to keep him behind the bars as its own review committee had recommended his release.
Geelani said Dr Qasim along with Ghulam Qadir Bhat and Muhammad Shafi Khan were tried at TADA court in Jammu. “Even though it is difficult to get justice in the hostile atmosphere of Jammu, but the TADA court acquitted them. The government challenged the verdict in Supreme Court which sentenced them to life imprisonment. The review board recommended release of Faktoo on completion of 14-year term in jail in 2008, but government rejected its decision. Later single bench of High Court directed government to implement the recommendations of review board within period of 90 days,” he added.
Claiming that human rights violations were going unabated in the state, Geelani said JK had become a “model of rights abuses.”
“There is hardly any conflict zone in the world where human rights violations take place at enormous scale like JK. People here are being subjected to brutality for demanding their birthright,” he said.
Senior Hurriyat (G) leader advocate Muhammad Shafi Reshi told reporters that technicalities were being used to keep Dr Qasim under confinement.
“If they claim that a person held under TADA is not entitled to the remission, how then Delhi government remitted sentence of persons convicted on the same offences,” Reshi said.
“The Criminal Procedure Code gives complete power to state for remitting sentence. That means JK government can also apply the procedural code in the case of Dr Qasim,” he said Reshi alleged that state government is using JK Jail manual rule 54 (1) as a tool to keep Dr Qasim under continuous detention for his political ideology.

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