Rallying behind lawyers who have allegedly being threatened for defending terror suspects, several Muslim organisations under the banner of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat Friday held a press conference in Jamia Nagar to condemn the “attacks on constitutional rights”.
The press conference was called after Mehmood Pracha, the lawyer for alleged Indian Mujahideen member Himayat Baig, recieved threats.
Releasing a list of lawyers who had been threatened or told not to represent terror suspects, a representative of one of the Muslim organisations said that the right to be presumed innocent and right to fair trial were not available to anyone “picked by elite security agencies”.
The list contained the names of 16 lawyers — from Shahid Azmi, who was killed for defending the accused in the Ghatkopar blasts case, to Kerala’s T Shanavas, who was arrested after he appeared in court to oppose the ban on SIMI. Several of those named in the list were attacked by other lawyers in court premises as they had appeared for terror suspects despite being forbidden by Bar associations.
“Such things didn’t happen even when the British were ruling us. Today, a lawyer who wants to defend an innocent is threatened,” said Maulana Attaur Rehman of the Shah Waliullah Institute.
Alleging a “nexus between the Maharashtra police and the underworld”, the Muslim bodies demanded a probe into the threats recieved by Pracha.
Condemning the threats, Saleem Engineer of the Jamaat-e-Islami said the security agencies often failed to follow due procedure and then framed innocents in “inter-state cases” if they were acquitted by a court. The cleric alleged that officials were “intoxicated by power” and often misused the powers given to them by law.