October 2006 News

'Save Afzal' campaign in Srinagar

12 October 2006
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: The Society for Protection of Detainees' and Prisoner' Rights (SPDPR) on Thursday launched a 'Save Afzal Guru' signature campaign here. It began with the signature of Afzal's wife Tabassum. SPDPR vice president S.A.R. Geelani told journalists that the campaign was for justice and 'not to defend a criminal.' 'You cannot punish a person who has been denied every opportunity to prove his innocence,' said Mr. Geelani, who had been acquitted in the Parliament attack case. Afzal had written to the Defence Committee for S.A.R. Geelani, seeking counsel. One lawyer refused to defend him and another was biased. 'Any case depends upon what happens in the trial court and there Afzal was defenceless,' he said, adding that on the day charges were framed against him there was no counsel. 'So what kind of justice can you expect?' Dubious investigation Mr. Geelani said the inspector handling the investigation was now in the Tihar Jail on corruption charges, and so was then ACP (Special Cell) Rajbir Singh. 'Their credibility is dubious,' he said. Mr. Geelani said the petition made to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was not a mercy petition, but was allowed under law. 'We are fighting for justice and not defending a criminal because we cannot say whether Afzal is a criminal or innocent. There has been no fair trial,' he said. He said a seminar would be held to mobilise public opinion. The signature campaign, he said, would be taken to all district headquarters.


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