50pc of cases decided sans defence lawyers
KABUL (PAN): Slamming most court verdicts as unjust, the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) chief on Saturday said 50 percent cases of detainees were decided in the absence of defence lawyers.
Roohullah Qarizada told participants of a workshop on gratuitous legal aid facilitation procedures in Kabul that having a defence lawyer was the right of each citizen.
As many as 95 percent of detainees were poor or unaware of their rights, he said. As a result, their cases are processed in the absence of defence lawyers. Only five percent can afford hiring defence lawyers.
The number of defence lawyers remains low in Afghanistan, according to Qarizada, who hoped for the establishment of a joint fund by the UNDP and Justice Ministry. The AIBA will enable poor detainees to have free defence lawyers.
“Some people are even sentenced to death in the absence of defence lawyers,” he complained, saying police, prosecutors and courts were obliged to educate convicts on their legal rights.
Qarizada claimed there were no defence lawyers in Zabul, Nuristan and Paktika provinces. In Uruzgan, there is only one such layer working for an NGO.
As many as 2, 000 defense lawyers are registered with AIBA, a number insufficient for the whole country. The entity is unable to provide all detainees with defence lawyers.
Rejecting the claim, Supreme Court official Dr. Abdullah Attayee said none of criminal cases were processed in the absence of defence lawyers. He added the poor were provided defence lawyers by the government.
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