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Pakistan: Incommunicado detention/fear of forcible transfer/fear of ill-treatment, Dr Ghairat Baheer

, Index number: ASA 33/038/2002

Afghan national, Dr Ghairat Baheer is being held without charge at an unknown location. His family fears that he may be forcibly transferred to US custody, where he may be at risk of ill-treatment, without regard to Pakistan's extradition requirements and in violation of international legal standards.

PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 33/038/2002
UA 343/02 Incommunicado detention/ 27 November 2002
fear of forcible transfer/
fear of ill-treatment
PAKISTANDr Ghairat Baheer (m), Afghan national
Afghan national, Dr Ghairat Baheer is being held without charge at an unknown
location. His family fears that he may be forcibly transferred to US custody,
where he may be at risk of ill-treatment, without regard to Pakistan’s
extradition requirements and in violation of international legal standards.
Dr Ghairat Baheer was taken from his home in the capital Islamabad on 29 October
around 1.30am by a group of some 15 people, mostly Pakistanis. The group, which
was witnessed by several of Dr Ghairat Baheer’s children, appears to have
included at least one “Western” woman. They searched the house and left without
indicating where they were taking Dr Ghairat Baheer, nor on whose authority
he was being taken away.
The family of Dr Ghairat Baheer has not heard from him since then and believe
that he may be in the custody of a US agency, possibly the US Central Intelligence
Agency (CIA) or the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). They also believe
that the sole reason for his abduction is the fact that he is the son-in-law
of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former prime minister of Afghanistan who opposes
the government of President Karzai and US military action in Afghanistan and
who is being sought by Afghan and US authorities in connection with bomb attacks
in Afghanistan.
Dr Ghairat Baheer was an Afghan ambassador of the Mujahideen alliance and
represented his country in Australia and other countries in the past. Since
the emergence of the Taliban, he has, according to his family, not been
politically active and has lived in Pakistan as a private citizen.
Since Pakistan joined the US-led global coalition against ‘terrorism’, the
government of Pakistan has arrested several hundred people on suspicion of
having links to ‘terrorist’ organizations. None however have been charged.
Legal requirements under Pakistan law, which include the right of detainees
to be brought before a magistrate within 24 hours and to be given access to
a lawyer and their family, have been ignored. Some of those arrested have been
handed over to US custody in circumvention of Pakistan’s extradition law which
requires an investigation of the extradition request by a magistrate and gives
a range of rights to the person whose extradition is sought. Pakistan has also
violated the international prohibition of non-refoulement, which prohibits
the deportation of anyone to a country where they may be at risk of human rights
abuses. The USA has denied or threatened to deny internationally recognized
rights to those taken into their custody in Afghanistan and elsewhere, including
those transferred to Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (See: Amnesty
International’s report, Rights at risk: Amnesty International’s concerns
regarding security legislation and law enforcement measures, AI Index: AMR
51/053/2002, January 2002) Amongst those arrested without charge and handed
over to US custody were Pakistanis, Afghans and people of Middle Eastern
background. (See: Amnesty International’s report, Pakistan: Transfer to US
custody without human rights guarantees, AI Index: ASA 33/014/2002, June 2002.)
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in
English or your own language:
- expressing concern about the safety of Dr Ghairat Baheer whose whereabouts
are unknown;
- urging the Government of Pakistan to immediately reveal the whereabouts of
Dr Ghairat Baheer;
- calling on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Dr
Ghairat Baheer if there are no criminal charges against him;
- calling on them to refrain from handing over Dr Ghairat Baheer to US custody
without strictly adhering to domestic human rights safeguards including
Pakistan’s extradition law, and stressing that the transfer of anyone to a
country where they would be at risk of a violation is a violation of the principle
on non-refoulement;
- urging the authorities to ensure that the rights of Dr Ghairat Baheer be
fully respected, including the right to humane treatment, the right to be
informed of the reason for his detention and to be able to challenge the
lawfulness of a detention, the presumption of innocence, the prompt access
to and assistance by a lawyer, and to be able to communicate with, and receive
visits from family and friends.
President Pervez Musharraf
Telegram: President Pervez Musharraf Islamabad, Pakistan
Fax: + 92 51 9224768
E-mail: CE@pak.gov.pk
Salutation: Dear President
The Minister for the Interior
Block R
Pakistan Secretariat
Telegram: Minister for the Interior, Islamabad Pakistan
Fax: + 92 51 9202624
E-mail: minister@interior.gov.pk
Salutation: Dear Minister
Minister for Foreign Affairs
and Minister for Law, Justice and Human Rights
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Constitution Avenue
Telegram: Foreign Affairs Minister, Islamabad, Pakistan
Fax: + 92 51 9207217
Salutation: Dear Minister
COPIES TO diplomatic representatives of Pakistan accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 6 January 2003.

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