Russian gets death penalty in Pakistan
A Russian man has been given the death penalty for an assassination attempt on the Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. However, his family claims that he confessed under duress.
According to Pakistani authorities, Akhlas Akhlak participated in the 2003 assassination attempt and confessed to that upon his arrest. Relatives of the young man say this statement was made under great duress.
“There is no evidence that he wanted to assassinate the president whatsoever. He is also accused of speaking out against the current Pakistani government. But he was in Russia at the time they say he was doing this. And I have proved this. I send money to him through the foreign ministry at that time,” Akhmad Akhlak, the man’s father says.
Akhlas's parents have only been able to see their son once since his arrest. They have now turned for help to the human rights representative of their native region.
Mikhail Tarantsov, the head of regional human rights body, says he has been working closely with Russia's Foreign Ministry.
Akhmad Akhlak, the mans' father
There is no evidence that he wanted to assassinate the president whatsoever. He is also accused of speaking out against the current Pakistani government. But he was in Russia at the time they say he was doing this. And I have proved this. I send money to him through the foreign ministry at that time.
“Although his father’s evidence may be considered as coming from an interested party, what he says shows that his son was arrested during circumstances which, mildly speaking, are very controversial and the facts that his father is suggesting are very serious. One of the examples is that his son is accused of committing a crime when he wasn’t in the country. And this is proven by documents. In general, there are a lot of weaknesses in the legal case against his son,” Mr Tarantsov commented.
The young man's parents plan to appeal the death verdict on the basis that their son – a civilian – was tried by a military court. And that is something Pakistan's law prohibits.
Nevertheless, Pakistani Ambassador to Russia, Mustafa Kamal Kazi, does not believe the case is anything other than closed.
“This person was arrested as a citizen of Pakistan. He had all Pakistani documents at the time of his arrest. And there is no dual nationality agreement between Russia and Pakistan. The question is how he could have two nationalities while there is no agreement of two nationalities between the two countries,” the ambassador stressed.
The convicted man, however, has so far been denied a meeting with Russian embassy representatives in Islamabad. Akhlas Akhlak remains in prison on death row.