Muslim lawyers’ group to defend terror case suspects

February 26th, 2008 - 2:55 pm ICT by admin  

Lucknow, Feb 26 (IANS) A group of Muslim lawyers of Uttar Pradesh has now decided to defend those who are implicated in acts of terror. Led by All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) legal adviser Zafaryab Jilani, the group has decided to hold a meet here March 16. They will oppose an earlier move of different bar associations of Uttar Pradesh to not defend anyone accused of involvement in acts of terror.

The initial decision to not defend the terror accused was taken after the Faizabad blasts in July 2005. The decision was reiterated after the triple blasts in Lucknow last November.

“It is unfair and against the principles of natural justice to not allow an individual to be defended by a counsel in court,” Jilani told IANS here Tuesday.

“To get legal defence is a fundamental human right and has not been denied even to those involved in high profile crimes - like the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Even those involved in the most condemnable Mumbai blasts were allowed to be defended by lawyers,” he said.

“It is absolutely unfair on the part of certain lawyer groups to deny this basic facility to those accused in terrorist acts because that would amount to believing every police theory in all crimes - which was against the law of the land,” he added.

Jilani said: “Lawyers should be free to take up or not take up a particular case. Any external pressure on a lawyer against holding a brief would tantamount to violation of the rights of an advocate.

“Those accused of involvement in the 2005 Faizabad blasts languished in jail for more than 18 months simply because they were denied an opportunity to be defended by any lawyer,” he said.

The high court and the Supreme Court have acquitted several individuals accused of involvement in terrorist activities, Jilani pointed out. “If findings of the police were to be treated as the final word, there would be no need for courts anywhere.”

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