Pakistan’s Supreme Court today dismissed appeals of at least 16 terrorists, including those sentenced to death, very first time the apex court has ruled on the legality of cases, by the special military courts and convicted for the Peshawar school carnage. The Supreme Court in its 182-page judgement ruled the appellants had not shown that the military failed to follow process or violated their constitutional rights. The conclusion is major setback to lawyers and civil society activists who was struggling to reverse the convictions by the military courts. A five-member full bench had reserved judgement on the appeals of the convicts.
The terrorists were convicted for the engagement in the Army Public School Strike in Peshawar, Parade Line bombing in the Bannu jailbreak, Rawalpindi and assaults on army convoys and installations. They were tried by special military courts put in place for quick trial of rebels after Peshawar school attack. It’s not known when they were convicted as such courts work at secret places due to security problems and where the trial was held,. Army chief General Raheel Sharif had rejected the appeals but the sentences had been challenged by the convicts in the Supreme Court.
In accordance with The Express Tribune, senior attorney and rights activist Asma Jahangir, the counsel for the convicts, on June 20 had demanded retrial of convicts. She also said that attorneys were not given access to the record of trial. She contended that they don’t know under what law her customer was taken into custody and whether due course of law was provided. She stated that people were illegally detained under the regulation, and after the constitutional amendment was introduced to conceal the illegality.