The Case of Dr Shaikh
(Update - December 5, 2000)
We are pleased to inform that the brother and relatives of Dr Younus Shaikh have engaged a prominent lawyer for him who has agreed to process the bail application and to handle the whole case.
Trusted contacts in Pakistan inform that some Human Rights activists in Islamabad have formed a group to monitor the case of Dr Shaikh and to assist him in any way they can. It was decided that a petition might be sent to the Chief Executive of Pakistan signed by selected NGOs demanding fair investigation of the case and fair trial of Dr Shaikh. The petition is meanwhile sent.
Excerpts from the report of a Human rights activist who went to the court when Dr Shaikh was brought to appear before the judge, on expiry of the judicial remand:
"…Clerics were monitoring his visitors… I then went to see Dr Shaikh's lawyer Mr… (name withheld by us). He has been engaged by Dr Younus's relatives. It was my third meeting with him, but in this meeting he shared a lot more information with me. He said he had already received Rs. 26,000 as fee for processing the bail application and would be paid another Rs. 100,000 for handling the whole case. He also briefed me about the legal aspects of the case and his strategy……"
The money for the legal defense of Dr Shaikh has been raised from family sources.
Dr Shaikh's case is already well known in Pakistan. Here is a headline from the Urdu daily Khabrain: "It is sin to hold court for blasphemer of the Prophet. The accused must be hanged immediately." There are reports of critical statements against Dr Shaikh by Khatibs of the mosque of Islamabad/ Rawalpindi. Another reporter writes that under the auspices of International organization of Ahl e-Sunnat wal Jamaat that resolutions were passed in several mosques demanding severe punishment for the blasphemer.
Responding to the call of Rationalist International hundreds of letters were sent from around the world to the Chief Executive of Pakistan requesting for the release of Dr Shaikh. If you have not yet written a letter, we request you to send one as early as possible, with copy to us. For more details, click here.