SC commutes death sentence of lynching convicts

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has commuted the death sentence awarded to seven people involved in the 2010 lynching of two brothers in Sialkot to 10-year imprisonment

Mughees and Muneeb were lynched by a mob on August 15, 2010 in Sialkot. They were killed, hung, and mutilated. The lynching was witnessed by a crowd of people including nine police officials who apparently offered no resistance.

Videos of the brutal killing had gone viral on social media whipping up a storm and prompting the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take notice.  A trial court had later awarded capital punishment to seven accused while six other accused were awarded life sentence.

The Lahore High Court (LHC) had upheld the trial court verdict.

A three-judge SC bench – headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa comprising Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmad – heard the case on Wednesday through a video link from the SC Lahore Registry.

Editorial: Mob justice

During the course of proceedings, the CJP said there were two versions of the incidents and two FIRs were registered against the accused. “In the first FIR, the injured persons were mentioned but the second FIR did not mention them.  This is the disadvantage of taking suo moto notices,” he added.

He said only the state has the power to punish any crime and people could not be allowed to take the law in their own hand.

“If people had captured the robbers, they did not have the authority to punish them. Violence could not be allowed at any cost. If courts release the accused, people would get a licence to torture,” he added.

After hearing the arguments, the court converted death sentence of seven accused and life imprisonment of five others to ten-year sentence. A detailed judgment of the case will be issued later.

(With additional input from APP)

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