Baby Charged With Attempted Murder in Pakistan Forced to Go Into Hiding (Update)
Update April 14, 2014:
A Pakistani court on Saturday threw out charges of attempted murder against a nine-month-old baby, in a case that highlighted endemic flaws in the country’s legal system and provoked widespread ridicule. The court also launched a separate case to look…
The headline may sound like an April Fools’ joke, but sadly it’s far from funny. A 9-month-old infant, Musa Khan, is having a hell of a childhood living in Pakistan so far. Absurdly accused by authorities in Lahore of taking part in a riot in a slum, the child has had to attend court where, naturally, he cried as he was fingerprinted and had to be given a bottle of milk to soothe him.
And as if the whole case isn’t surreal enough, police claim Khan’s family brought the “wrong baby” to trial to “undermine the police case.” The insanity of it all isn’t lost on the infant’s fellow countrymen, however, and while the poor child has had to go into hiding to escape pressure from the authorities, “the episode has shone an embarrassing light on Pakistan’s shambolic criminal justice system, where underpaid and ill-trained police can be quick to lay false charges that can ensnare the innocent in years of legal troubles.”
The whole thing goes against Pakistani law anyway, so it seems like there may be some justice for Musa Khan and his family after all.
Irfan Sadiq Tarar, the family’s lawyer, said the penal code made it impossible for children under the age of seven to be considered to have committed a criminal offence. “The case questions the efficiency of the Punjab police,” he said…
Musa was among five people identified in a police document known as a first information report (FIR) following disturbances in February in a slum area of Lahore when workers for a gas company came to try to disconnect houses that had not paid their bills.
According to the FIR, written by a now suspended assistant sub-inspector, Musa and his co-accused tried to kill the gas company workers and the policemen accompanying them by throwing stones.
—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata