UK seeks no death-penalty assurance for evidence sharing in Imran Farooq case

In response to the correspondence related to sharing of evidence in the murder case, the FIA’s special prosecutor Khawaja Imtiaz said, the UK Central Authority has explained UK’s long-standing opposition to the death penalty and its corollary refusal to extradite or share evidence in cases in which the death penalty could be exercised. The prosecutor has apprised the ATC that the UK Central Authority has said that the European laws did not permit sharing of evidence with a country where the offence was punishable by death.

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Authorities in the United Kingdom have sought no death-penalty assurance from the Pakistan government for sharing evidence in the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Dr Imran Farooq’s murder case.

The details emerged after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) informed an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad that the UK authorities has shown willingness to share evidence to help prosecute the suspects standing trial in the case provided that the accused would be given death penalty if convicted.

Khalid and Syed have backtracked from their confessional statement, saying that they had recorded the previous statement under coercion.

In response to the correspondence related to sharing of evidence in the murder case, the FIA’s special prosecutor Khawaja Imtiaz said, the UK Central Authority have explained UK’s long-standing opposition to the death penalty and its corollary refusal to extradite or share evidence in cases in which the death penalty could be exercised.

The prosecutor has apprised the ATC that the UK Central Authority has said that the European laws did not permit sharing of evidence with a country where the offence was punishable by death.

Read more: Police suspect MQM London’s involvement in Abidi’s murder

He said that the UK government had asked Pakistan to give assurance that the convict would not be given death sentence on the basis of the evidence related to the murder.

Pakistan’s Response

Pakistani government had replied to the UK Central Authority that the matter was under consideration and for this particular case, Imtiaz told Dawn, the law might be amended or the presidential pardon might be invoked to change death sentence to life imprisonment. However, he told the paper, the top law office would have a final say in the matter.

Authorities in the UK have sought no death-penalty assurance from the Pakistan government for sharing evidence in the MQM leader Dr Imran Farooq’s murder case.

Earlier this month, the prosecutor had informed the court that UK authorities were willing to share evidence and had emailed to the Attorney General Office of Pakistan, expressing willingness to provide evidence which might be used against the suspects facing trial in the murder case.

Initially, the UK authorities did not respond to Pakistan’s request for the MLA. However, the FIA had sought time from the court to produce evidence as it was expecting to get a response from UK through mutual legal assistance.

Read more: Extradition of Altaf Hussain: Interior Ministry calls a meeting

Case History

On December 5, 2015, the FIA had registered a case against the MQM chief Altaf Hussain and other party leaders for their alleged involvement in the 2010 murder of Dr Farooq. He was stabbed and bludgeoned to death near his apartment in London in September 2010.

In May 2018, ATC had indicted the three main suspects — Khalid Shamim, Syed Mohsin Ali and Moazzam Ali — who had pleaded not guilty to the indictment, which had come two years after the completion of legal formalities.

The FIA had sought time from the court to produce evidence as it was expecting to get a response from UK through the mutual legal assistance.

In their statements, Khalid had confessed that Farooq’s murder was a “birthday gift” for the MQM founder and Syed had stated that he took part in the crime because he was promised a position in the MQM’s London Secretariat. Another suspect, Moazzam Ali, has not yet recorded his confessional statement in the case.

However, recently, Khalid and Syed have backtracked from their confessional statement, saying that they had recorded the previous statement under coercion.

Read more: UK considers hate charges against Altaf Hussain

Khalid told ATC that he was tortured prior to the recording of his earlier statement before a magistrate. He had added that the investigation officer of the case had forced him to confess to his involvement in the murder.

Syed said he had refused to confess before the magistrate despite being subjected to mental and physical torture. He alleged that he had complained to the magistrate about his treatment. However, he added, a confession statement prepared earlier was signed and attested by the magistrate.

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