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People’s Tribunal on those acquitted in terror cases to be held on October 2 in New Delhi

Speakers will narrate their experience of criminal justice system, their struggle to rebuild their lives.

Written by Sadaf Modak | Mumbai |
September 28, 2016 1:54:03 am

A FIRST of its kind People’s Tribunal on those acquitted in terror cases is set to be held on October 2 in New Delhi. The tribunal will see participation of those exonerated in 10 terror cases in various states, with them narrating their experience of the criminal justice system and their struggle to rebuild their lives after their release.

The cases include the recently concluded Aurangabad arms haul case in which eight persons were acquitted as well as the Malegaon 2006 blast where eight men, who had spent five years in prison, were discharged by a special NIA court in Mumbai. Those who were exonerated will speak before a jury, which includes Justice A P Shah, former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court and others, including academicians and lawyers.

The jury will then compile a report based on the testimonies presented before them to enable them to engage with various stakeholders on the issues of rehabilitation and compensation.

Organised under the collective Innocence Network — which includes individuals and organisations working for the rights of those wrongfully prosecuted, including those who have been exonerated — the tribunal will also see the release of a book on the 7/11 Mumbai train blasts.

“This is the start of the initiative of the Innocence Network which seeks to equip the innocents to carry forward their struggles themselves. The idea is to establish an innocence collective similar to the one in the US and other countries. Abroad, such movements with a thorough understanding of the justice framework as well as advocacy methods have yielded good results,” said Sharib Ali, Program Head, Quill Foundation, which along with the Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association is facilitating the Innocence Network. He said that they are seeking a comprehensive legislative framework to deal with issues relating to compensation and rehabilitation of victims who have faced wrongful prosecution.

“It was the state which had wrongfully implicated us in the case. It is their moral responsibility to rehabilitate us after release. Those who have faced incarceration and terror charges face a lot of hardship and stigma even after their release. There is a need to both compensate them and ensure strict action against those officials who charged them in cases they were not involved in,” said Wahid Shaikh, acquitted in the 7/11 Mumbai train blasts, who will also speak at the tribunal.

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