Death Of Suspect While In Custody Condemned

Asif Shahzad
Death Of Suspect While In Custody Condemned
Thu Aug 19, 2004 18:00
4.227.62.254

[ http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article2270.shtml ]

Pakistan Rights Commission Condemns Custodial Death of Terror Suspect

By Asif Shahzad Associated Press Writer
Published: Aug 19, 2004

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) - Pakistan's human rights commission on Thursday demanded an investigation into the death of an Islamic cleric who died in custody after being arrested for an assassination attempt on the prime minister designate.
The cleric, Qari Noor Mohammed, was arrested in the eastern city of Faisalabad last week. Police said he died of a heart attack, but intelligence sources said he died during an interrogation over his alleged links with al-Qaida.

Sardar Mohammed Zafar, a senior Islamic cleric, said he had received an anonymous call telling him to pick up the body from the Allied Hospital on Wednesday. He alleged Mohammed's body had dozens of cuts and bruises caused by torture.

On Thursday, the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan called for an inquiry into the death, while expressing alarm over the lack of transparency and rule of law in Pakistan's campaign against Islamic militants.

"Reports that his body showed marks of torture is a matter of immense concern," the commission said in a statement.

The government refused to comment.

Pakistan is a key ally in the U.S.-led war on terrorism. Authorities say they have captured dozens of terror suspects in the past month, including foreign al-Qaida operatives and local militants. Few of the suspects have had court hearings.

Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayyat on Thursday said 65 terror suspects, among them 14 Pakistanis, have been arrested in recent days.

"We have achieved unprecedented successes while arresting al-Qaida elements," he said. "Their arrests have allowed us to penetrate deep into the al-Qaida structure and to know about their policies. We have in front of us big targets and information extracted from the arrested people will help us."

Zafar said two men arrested with Mohammed were released Thursday, also with torture wounds.

Police would not confirm the releases of Qari Obaidullah, a teacher and opposition political activist, or Imam Din, an administrator. The two worked at the same seminary as Mohammed.

Obaidullah said he had been made to stand for hours, was punched and slapped, and made to wear a hood covering his face during questioning. He said he was asked whether he knew Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

"I told them that I have nothing to do with al-Qaida, nor do I know anyone in the network," he told The Associated Press by telephone.

Zafar, who is a local leader for the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal religious coalition, said the MMA had filed a complaint with Faisalabad police accusing unnamed officials of Mohammed's murder.

Mohammed was arrested for his alleged role in a July 30 assassination attempt on Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, who is slated to become prime minister next week. A suicide bomber detonated explosives near Aziz's car, killing himself and eight others. Aziz escaped unharmed.

.....oh about a dozen low ranking personnel were involved in "Israeli Style Torture" but the chain of command is innocent....sounds like a substantial misstatement of fact the FBI would use.
 


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