PAKISTAN: In a hate campaign against the Ahmadis the police tortured to death an innocent school teacher

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the illegal arrest, detention and custodial torture which led to the death of Mr Abdul Qudoos Ahmad, a school teacher and the president of the Nusrat Abad chapter of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, by the Chenab Nagar police. He was kept in illegal detention by the police for 35 days during which he was tortured without mercy. The torture included the victim being hung upside down by his ankles for long periods. On other occasions he was forced to lay flat on his back while a heavy wooden roller, similar to those used to flatten cricket pitches, was rolled over his body. His captors stood on either side making sure he could not escape the torment.

CASE NARRATIVE:

Mr. Abdul Qudoos Ahmad (43), a well respected school teacher, belonging to the Ahmadiyya sect was tortured to death while in police custody in Chenab Nagar (the Ahmadi community refers to it by its old name of Rabwah), Punjab province. He was taken into custody by the police on 10 February 2012 and was kept in a private torture cell of the police until 26 March when his condition deteriorated due to the severe torture he endured. He remained in police custody for 35 days with any charges being laid against him and was not officially arrested. He was forced to confess to the murder of one, Muhammad Yousuf, a stamp-paper seller from the Nusrat Abad area who was murdered a few months earlier. During the illegal detention Mr. Qudoos was deprived from access to any the legal aid was not provided.

According to information received from the Muslim Times, Express Tribune and Ahmadiyya Jamaat during custody, the victim was hung upside down by his ankles for long periods. On other occasions he was forced to lay flat on his back while a heavy wooden roller, similar to those used to flatten cricket pitches, was rolled over his body. His captors stood on either side making sure he could not escape the torment. Such inhumane and merciless treatment led to multiple organ failure and other physical injuries. The aforementioned methods of torture are but a few examples of the torment inflicted on him in a demonstration of hatred against the Ahmadis by the law enforcers.

The police officials continued the torture throughout the illegal detention and when Mr. Qudoos’ physical condition deteriorated due to the heartless and callous treatment the police forced a family member to place his signature of a piece of blank paper and take him back home. Mr. Qudoos was released on 26 March 2012 and his family sought immediate medical attention for him. Despite the best efforts of the family and doctors he was unable to recover and on 30 March 2012 he passed away in the hospital.

According to the version filed by the police only two subordinate officers were mentioned in their report. Station House Officer (SHO) Mr. Khadim Hussain of the Chenab Nagar police registered a police case only against sub inspectors, Sujhat Ali and Manazar Ali, under sections 302, 148, 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code. In this manner, impunity was assured to the real murderers including SHO Khadim Hussain and other police officials.

It is with the connivance of a provincial law minister that the Punjab provincial police have been able to hide the criminal practice of the police of keeping suspects in illegal detention for months during which time they are tortured to get confessional statements and bribes. The provincial law minister has been instrumental in sheltering the high officials of the police from involvement in these heinous crimes. These officers include the District Police Officer (DPO), the highest police officer of the district, the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), under whom the police station of Chenab Nagar comes, and the officer in charge of the police station, SHO Khadim Hussain.

The brother-in-law of the victim, Mr. Imtiaz Ahmed stated that Mr. Qudoos’ was brutally tortured during interrogations, causing severe internal injuries. He accused the police that when the teacher was released the police threatened the family members to hush up the matter. According to Mr. Imtiaz Mr. Qudoos was admitted to a local hospital where he died due to excessive loss of blood.

It is unbelievable that a man could be kept in a police station for 35 days and continuously tortured and the SHO and other high officials including the DSP of the concerned police station knew nothing about the incident. This criminal act by the district police has been covered up under guise of releasing the prisoner to hide the illegal and supra constitutional behavior of the police.

The Punjab government has yet not started any investigation in to the incident of arbitrary detention, torture and misuse of police power against the concerned police officers. It is a very well known fact the provincial government and particularly the provincial law minister have connections with Muslim fundamentalists groups and banned Islamic organizations who are very much against the Ahmadis and who have been involved in the killings of Ahmadis and Shias, the second largest Muslim sect.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

The illegal dentition and torture clearly violated the procedural law, specifically Section 61 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of 1898 “No police officer shall detain in custody a person arrested without a warrant for a longer period than under all circumstances of the case is reasonable, and such period shall not, in the absence of a special order of a magistrate under Section 167, exceed 24 hours exclusive of the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the Magistrate’s Court.” . The procedural law stated that a person arrested not be detained more than 24 hours but Mr.Qudoos was illegally detained for 35 days.

Torture is not criminalized in Pakistan. In absence of the anti torture law and loop hole in the substantive and procedural laws in Pakistan, law enforcement agencies are enjoying full impunity. The police are using torture as their daily method of extracting information and bribes from the accused in their custody. Several sections of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) of 1898 including Section 46 (2- 3) need to amended and specially sections 54 & 55 extend the police powers over persons who are still to be declared as accused, by permitting arrest without warrant. Specifically in this case Master Abdul Qudoos Ahmad was arrested without warrant and tortured to death.

Names of alleged perpetrators:

1. Mr. Sujhat Ali, Sub Inspector of Police

2. Mr. Manazar Ali, Sub Inspector of Police

3. Mr. Khadim Hussain, Station House Officer (SHO)

All are attached to the Chenab Nagar police station, Punjab province

4. Deputy Superintendent of Police, Chenab Nagar, Punjab province

5. District Police Officer of Chenab Nagar, Punjab province

Date of incident: 30 March 2012

Place of incident: Chenab Nagar, Punjab province

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Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

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