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9-month old arrested: Toddler arrested for stoning exposes Pakistan legal flaws

A 9-month old was arrested in Pakistan for allegedly tossing rocks and has since been accused of attempted murder by “stoning.” The dubious apprehending of this mite-sized “criminal” underscores serious flaws in a specious legal system in Pakistan that seems bereft of any ability to protect basic human rights.
Nine-month-old Musa holds his bottle in a Pakistan court this week as he and his family answer to attempted murder charges.

Says Fox News on April 4: Muhammad Mosa Khan, a 9-month-old Pakistani boy, “sat on his father’s lap, sucking on a bottle during a court appearance where he and at least 30 others were charged with attempted murder.”

For more on that:

Pakistani baby attempted murder: Attempted murder charge for baby lobbing rocks

Human rights abuses coupled with an anemic legal system have led to the mistreatment and deaths of thousands of Pakistanis.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW), in their 2013 World Report, labeled Pakistan as having a “turbulent” year, highlighted via “attacks on civilians by militant groups, growing electricity shortages, rising food and fuel prices, and continuing political dominance of the military, which operates with almost complete impunity.”

Dozens have been arrested and tortured under the country’s ill-defined blasphemy law, reports the HRW, including the 2012 arrest of mentally disabled girl, suffering from Down Syndrome, who allegedly burned the Quran.

Violence and abuse against women is rampant; courts have little say and in many cases allow for tortuous punishments. Rape, so-called “honor” killings, domestic violence and continued adherence to forced marriage at absurd ages all remain serious problems.

Pakistani law is largely influenced by Islamic Sharia law. Based on precepts from Quranic verses, Sharia law covers all aspects of moral code and religious laws of Islam. Separate articles of Sharia law cover hygiene and purification, including the prayer one is to utter when leaving the toilet: “O Allah! Bestow your forgiveness upon me.”

Islamic jurisprudence also covers dietary restrictions, ritual slaughter, theological obligations and dress code.

Criminal law and the Judiciary of Pakistan’s court system especially lack parameters that equitably determine guilt and that govern how punishment is to be meted out. Says a quote from Between God and the Sultan: A History of Islamic Law: “Islamic law does not have a distinct corpus of ‘criminal law,’ as Sharia courts do not have prosecutors, and all matters, even criminal ones, are in principle handled as disputes between individuals.”

Despite the minimum age for criminal responsibility in Pakistan being twelve, the 9-month-old Pakistani boy was required to appear in court, was fingerprinted, and officials even wanted the infant to “give a statement.”

States the Huffington Post:

Video footage from the hearing showed the boy being fingerprinted while sitting on his grandfather’s lap. He was then granted interim bail by Judge Rafaqat Ali’s court. The boy is expected to return to court April 12.

“The court should have simply referred the minor's case to the High Court to drop the charges against the innocent child and acquit him from the case,” stated attorney Chaudhry Irfan Sadiq. “This case also exposes the incompetence of our police force and the way they are operating.”

While the officer who arrested the child has since been suspended, the court system is still requiring that the infant, after being "allowed" to post bail, return next month to face the murder charges that he and his family are accused of.

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