Human rights minister requests SC to release prisoners

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari submitted a report in the Supreme Court (SC) pertaining to the release of prisoners, as the coronavirus nationwide tally crossed 2,800 on Sunday.
The report stated that the risk of the virus spreading across prisons was very high due to overcrowding. Infections among incarcerated persons could be problematic due to lack of medical equipment and the training capacity of prison staff.
There were over 1,500 senior citizens in prison across the country, the reported further stated, recommending the immediate release of elderly prisoners, differently-abled and those with underlying health concerns.
“As our prisons are not highly equipped to provide care/intervention, it is strongly recommended that elderly, differently-abled and the persons who are underlying health issues be immediately released to comply with the Basic Principle for Treatment of Prisoners (adopted by United Nations General Assembly resolution) which emphasised the principle 9 that prisoners shall have access to health service available in the country without discrimination on the ground of their legal situation,†the report observed.
Mazari also requested the apex court to allow provincial governments to remit sentences where possible and permitted, under Section 401 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). The hearing will resume on Monday.