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Resolution adopted by consensus by the Governing Council
at its 177th session (Geneva, 19th October 2005) *

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/177/11(a) R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 176th session (April 2005),

Taking account of the information provided by one of the sources on 12 October 2005,

Recalling the following: Mr. Hashmi was arrested on 29 October 2003 on the grounds that he had circulated an allegedly forged letter, written in the name of Pakistani army officers, which criticized the army and its leadership; he was found guilty on all charges (defaming the Government and the army, forgery and incitement to mutiny) and sentenced on 12 April 2004 to a 23-year prison term, at the close of a trial which was held in camera and did not respect the rights of the defence; Mr. Hashmi filed an appeal against the verdict, which is pending; his application for bail was dismissed on 24 February 2005, and he subsequently lodged an application for suspension of sentence with the Supreme Court,

Considering that, according to the report of the expert who observed the hearing on 27 June 2005 before the Supreme Court for the IPU, no decision was taken as the senior judge did not attend, and the two other judges on the bench felt that they could not take any decision without him, as a result of which the hearing was postponed; and that despite repeated applications by Mr. Hashmi's defence counsel, no other hearing has as yet been scheduled; and noting that to date no hearing has been scheduled regarding Mr. Hashmi's appeal against his conviction and sentence,

Recalling also that Mr. Hashmi had filed an appeal against the decision to hold the trial in prison, and that the competent court, by the time the judge handed down his judgement, had still not ruled on this appeal, which therefore became moot,

Recalling finally that, while the authorities affirm that Mr. Hashmi enjoys better prison facilities and has a separate kitchen and a servant, the source affirms that he is treated at C class standards, and is held in solitary confinement with extremely limited visiting rights,

  1. Remains deeply concerned that Mr. Hashmi was found guilty and sentenced to a heavy prison term at the close of a trial which, given the secrecy of the proceedings and the disregard for the rights of the defence, fell far short of fundamental fair trial guarantees, and suggested partiality on the part of the judge;

  2. Is dismayed that the hearing before the Supreme Court on Mr. Hashmi's application for suspension of sentence had to be adjourned owing to the absence of one of the judges; fails to understand that a judge may be entitled not to participate in scheduled hearings without providing any grounds; observes that this may seriously hamper the due administration of justice; and would appreciate clarification in this respect;

  3. Notes that Mr. Hashmi has already spent two years in jail; observes that means of judicial redress, such as an appeal and application for suspension of sentence, become meaningless if the courts do not rule on them in due course; insists on the importance for any judicial system respectful of fundamental fair trial guarantees to comply with the important principle that justice delayed is justice denied; and considers that delaying hearings and a decision on Mr. Hashmi's appeals infringes his fundamental right to be tried without undue delay;

  4. Earnestly hopes that Mr. Hashmi's application for suspension of sentence and his appeal against his conviction and sentence will be heard without any further delay;

  5. Reiterates its wish to be informed in detail about Mr. Hashmi's conditions of detention, in particular whether he is being held in prison in solitary confinement without court order to this effect;

  6. Requests the Secretary General of the IPU to convey this resolution to the competent authorities and to the sources, inviting them to provide the requested information; and requests him also to inform the competent United Nations human rights bodies of its concerns in this case;

  7. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held during the 114th IPU Assembly (May 2006).

* The delegation of Pakistan stated that the case was sub judice, that an appeal was pending and that it was not possible to lodge a petition for suspension of sentence pending appeal.


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