The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Parliament case

New Delhi, May 8: A human rights panel today demanded a fair trial for the Parliament attack accused, Syed Abdul Rehman Geelani, claiming there are several lacunae in the prosecution’s arguments before Delhi High Court, reports our special correspondent.

The All India Defence Committee for Syed Abdul Rehman Geelani said special public prosecutor Gopal Subramaniam has presented “some extraordinary arguments” in trying to establish the former Delhi University lecturer’s role in the conspiracy.

The committee listed eight questions in a press release doubting the prosecution theory being presenting in the appeal in the high court.

It pointed out that the government has not laid emphasis on the 2.16-minute intercepted conversation between Geelani and his stepbrother on the morning after Parliament was attacked, in sharp contrast to the trial in the session court where it was presented as the main evidence against him.

It argued that though Geelani has not denied speaking to convicted terrorists Mohammed Afzal and Shaukat Ali, the contents of their taped conversations have not been placed on record. Moreover, the former lecturer “has never been given an opportunity to reveal their contents”.

“The only call of which we have the contents shows clearly that it had nothing remotely to do with the attack on Parliament,” the committee said.

The statement said the phone records, on which the prosecution has placed so much importance, does not show that Geelani ever called or received calls from the five deceased terrorists or from Pakistan, suggesting that the conspiracy theory woven around him is too tall to digest.

The committee alleged that police extracted a “false confession” from Geelani after torturing him. Subramaniam was hard put to explain why police had not bothered to raid or search Geelani’s house, especially because he was supposed to be the first one to be arrested for the case, the panel said, adding that it raised questions about the motive behind his arrest.

Appealing for a fair trial, the committee said international and national human rights monitors were following the trail as it has raised many questions vitally linked to the future of Indian democracy and civil liberties.

The key issue the trial has thrown up is whether the right to a fair trial will be protected in the midst of the so-called war against terrorism, the committee added.

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