On the 6th of March of this year the Legal Rights Forum (LRF) held a press conference at Karachi Press Club to highlight the issue of police violence against children.

LRF Chairman and 2008 JusticeMakers fellow, Malik Tahir Iqbal, chose to focus on one case in particular – that of a seventeen year old boy who was accused of alleged robbery. The child’s grandmother had filed a petition for the release of her grandson at the Malir Court in January of this year. The child had also been arrested for robbery in 2006, but then released on bail.According to the findings of the LRF team, the child was arrested late one night and was held at a police station, where he was subjected to mental and physical torture and sexual abuse – acts that constitute a gross violation of child and human rights, as outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and under Pakistan’s Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2000. Neither his family nor his probation officer were informed of the arrest. youthful_offenders_prison_310309.bmp
pressconference.jpg Although the child claimed that the allegations against him were false, he was told that if he did not confess to the crime, a video of him being abused and tortured would be distributed online. The video was recorded on a mobile phone, and then uploaded to the internet from a local cyber-café. The child’s family and friends say that this act constitutes an act of extortion and blackmail. His father, a wealthy man who has been working abroad in the UK, said that the family has already given money to numerous police officers in an attempt to end the circulation of the video.

At the press conference, the LRF team strongly recommended that a government appointed official conduct further investigation into this case and that the government of Pakistan ensure the future protection of the child and his family.

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