A 31-year-old Indian prisoner, sentenced by a military court for possessing a fake Pakistani identity card, was attacked at least thrice by inmates in recent months in a Peshawar jail, his lawyer told a court.
Hamid Nehal Ansari, a Mumbai resident arrested in 2012 for illegally entering Pakistan from Afghanistan reportedly to meet a girl he had befriended online, suffered injuries after he was attacked by inmates in the Peshawar Central Prison.
His lawyer Qazi Mohammad Anwar told a Peshawar High Court bench on Thursday that his client had been kept in a death cell with a hardened criminal awaiting execution for a murder.
Ansari was attacked and injured three times over the last couple of months and shifted to the hospital for treatment, the counsel added.
He said even the head warden would subject him to brutality and slap him on a daily basis without any reason.
Anwar said that Ansari lodged a complaint about this with the superintendent.
Superintendent of the prison Masoodur Rehman confirmed the incidents, but insisted they are of minor nature and that such incidents did happen in prisons, the Dawn reported.
Rehman also told the bench that Ansari, who was serving three years jail term, had been kept in the death cell.
“He (Ansari) can’t be kept in a normal barrack along with other prisoners for the sake of his security,” he said.
The superintendent also pointed out that the facility had a capacity for 350 inmates, but was housing 3,000.
Ansari’s lawyer said the superintendent should give an undertaking to the court that attacks won’t happen against his client in future. The jailer, however, said he couldn’t give a written guarantee in this regard, the paper said.
The counsel requested the bench to order the superintendent to shift Ansari to a safer part of the jail where there were no threats to his life.
After hearing the arguments, the court asked authorities to provide protection to Ansari and asked the superintendent to sit down with social activist Rakhshanda Naz and Ansari himself to come up with steps for the inmate’s protection. “It is your duty to maintain law and order. As a jailer, you are responsible for protecting the lives and property of inmates,” the bench told the superintendent. The bench also ordered Ansari to decide himself over steps for his protection. A copy of the recommendations is to be submitted before the court. Ansari had gone missing after he was taken into custody by intelligence agencies and local police in Kohat in 2012 and finally in reply to a habeas corpus petition filed by his mother, Fauzia Ansari, the high court was informed on January 13 that he was in custody of the Pakistan Army and was being tried by a military court. He was convicted by the military court for possessing a fake Pakistani identity card and sentenced to three years imprisonment.