NGO report

Pakistan, a long march for democracy and the rule of law

By International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) / Fatma Cosadia / Odette Lou Bouvier, on 1 January 2009

Regularly denounced by human rights associations, violations of the right to a fair trial and inequality before the law for prisoners who face the death penalty are flagrant. Most prisoners belong to the most disadvantaged social classes or to ethnic or religious minorities. Involved in often questionable circumstances, with confessions extracted under frequent beatings and torture, many litigants are not given an adequate defence. To defend these cases, lawyers appointed ex officio receive 200 rupees per hearing (less than 5 U.S. dollars). Often young and inexperienced to deal with procedures not respecting the minimum fair trial guarantees, these lawyers are not in a position to ensure the mandate entrusted to them.