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Behind bars: Police, jail authorities accused of torturing activists

May 5, 2012
GILGIT: The police and jail authorities of Gilgit have been accused of torturing three progressive youth activists being held in Gilgit Jail.

The news came after the relatives and the lawyer of the three activists — Progressive Youth Movement Chief Organiser Baba Jan, Iftikhar Hussain and Ameer Khan — complained to the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Inspector General of Police (IGP) Hussain Akhtar on Thursday. They asked the IGP to take action against a superintendent of police, a deputy superintendent of police, a station house officer and a deputy superintendent of Gilgit Jail for torturing the three activists, and preventing them from meeting their family members and their lawyer.

The counsel for the three activists, advocate Ehsan Ali, said last week he visited the jail to see his clients after being “repeatedly denied the right” by the jail authorities. He claimed that the three men had injuries on their faces and shoulders, adding that they are in urgent need of medical attention.

“Denying a lawyer to meet his counsel in jail is a violation of human rights,” said Ali. “As per the jail manual, we have the right to see our clients and the prisoners too have certain rights inside the jail,” he said.

Ali claimed that the activists were tortured because they attempted to instigate the prisoners in Gilgit Jail to raise voice against injustices they face at the hands of police and jail authorities. He added that if the IGP did not respond to the complaint, he will be forced to move the court for justice.

Meanwhile, an anti-terrorism court in Gilgit allowed medical checkups of the three detainees.

The three activists were among the estimated 100 people arrested last year for ransacking a police station and torching government offices in Hunza. They were protesting against the killing of a disaster-hit man and son in August last year during a clash between the police and the people affected by the Attabad Lake.

The activists were booked under the anti-terrorism act, however, all but these three activists remain in jail.

When contacted, Gilgit Deputy Commissioner Arkam Tariq said he was unaware of any torture meted out to the detainees inside the jail. “I am not aware of any such incident, but I can assure you that a fair inquiry will be conducted,” he added.


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