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National

January 4, 2015

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Accused tried in military court will have no right to appeal in civilian court

ISLAMABAD: The accused to be tried by military courts under the proposed amendment in the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) will have no right to appeal in any civilian superior or subordinate court but may avail such facility available in the PAA.
“The army has its own appellate authority to hear appeals against the decisions of courts martial, but the civilian judiciary has no power to exercise,” a noted lawyer told The News.
Another advocate, Col (R) Inamur Rehman, said that after the confirmation of death sentence, imposed by a military court, by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), the convict can challenge it in the court of appeal of the Pakistan Army, but not in any civilian judicial forum.
He said the lawyers defending the accused persons are authorised to appear before the military courts. The army will arrest, investigate and try the alleged terrorists. The proceedings are held in-camera.
Section 133 of the PPA says no remedy shall lie against any decision of a court martial as provided in this law, and for the removal of doubt it is hereby declared that no appeal or application shall lie in respect of any proceeding or decision of a court martial to any court exercising any jurisdiction whatever.
Section 131 says any person subject to this law who considers himself aggrieved by the finding or sentence of a general, field general or district court martial may submit a petition, before confirmation of such finding or sentence, to the officer empowered to confirm it and, after confirmation, to the central government, or the COAS or to any designated officer, provided that such official is higher in rank than the one who confirmed such finding or sentence.
According to section 143, when any person has been convicted by a court martial of any offence, the central government or the COAS or any officer not below the rank of brigadier empowered in this behalf by the COAS may either without conditions or upon any conditions which the person sentenced

accepts, pardon the person or remit the whole or any part of the punishment awarded; or mitigate the punishment awarded or commute such punishment for any less punishment or punishments mentioned in this law.
However, a sentence of transportation will not be commuted for a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for a term exceeding the term of transportation awarded by the court, and a sentence of rigorous imprisonment will not be commuted for a sentence of a detention for a term exceeding the term of rigorous imprisonment awarded by the court.
If any condition on which a person has been pardoned or a punishment has been remitted is, in the opinion of the authority which granted the pardon or remitted the punishment, not fulfilled, such authority may cancel the pardon or remission, and thereupon the sentence of the court will be carried into effect as if such pardon had not been granted or such punishment had not been remitted. However in the case of a person sentenced to transportation, rigorous imprisonment, or detention, such person will undergo only the un-expired portion of his sentence.
Section 144 says where a person has been sentenced by a court martial to transportation, rigorous imprisonment or detention, the central government, or the COAS, or any officer empowered to convene a general or field general court martial may suspend the sentence whether or not the offender has already been committed to prison or custody. The authority or officer so specified may in the case of an offender so sentenced direct that, until the orders of such authority or officer have been obtained, the offender will not be committed to prison or custody.
These powers may be exercised in this case of any such sentence, which has been confirmed, mitigated or commuted.

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