Press Releases

Press Releases

Press Release: June 5, 2014

Islamabad High Court orders registration of criminal case against the CIA station chief

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of Islamabad High Court ordered today registration of a criminal case for offences of murder, conspiracy, waging war against Pakistan and offences under the provisions of Terrorism Act 1997 against the former CIA station chief in Islamabad Jonathan Banks and John A Rizzo. The SHO Secretariat Police Station was present in the court and was asked by the court if a cognizable offence was committed and upon SHO conceding a cognizable offence had been committed, the Honourable Justice Siddiqui ordered immediate registration of a criminal case against the CIA officials and to move in accordance with law.

Kareem Khan, a resident of North Waziristan Agency lost his teenage son Zahinullah and brother Asif Iqbal who was a primary school teacher in Miali, North Waziristan Agency in a drone strike on 31st December 2009. Kareem Khan started his legal struggle to get justice in 2010 and since then the Islamabad police had been avoiding proceeding against the CIA officials involved in this brutal killing and hundreds of other killings in US conducted drone strikes in Pakistan. Kareem Khan had earlier filed cases before the Justice of the Peace in Islamabad and Islamabad High Court in the same matter but so far the Islamabad police had been reluctant to proceed against the CIA officials.

Kareem Khan was represented by Mirza Shahzad Akbar of the Foundation for Fundamental Rights who said after the decision of the Court: “There is no doubt under Pakistani and International law that the US officials are committing murder through drone strikes in Pakistan and today’s decision simply vindicates this very point, after this order all those who have been killed in drone strikes have a right to proceed in similar criminal actions against the CIA officials and others involved. This remarkable order also highlights the strength of independence of judiciary in Pakistan which is truly protecting the rights of citizens of Pakistan under the Constitution”.

Kareem Khan said: “Today’s order is a victory for all those innocent civilians that have been killed in US led drone strikes in Pakistan and as a citizen of Pakistan I feel somewhat reaffirmed that perhaps people like me from Waziristan might also be able to get justice for the wrongs being done to them. I sincerely hope that authorities now do their job and proceed against the culprits”.


Press Release: February 14, 2014

Drone victim Kareem Khan released from illegal detention in Pakistan A Pakistani drone victim who had been missing since being abducted from his home by men in police uniforms on February 5 has been released.

Kareem Khan, who had not been heard from since being taken from his Rawalpindi home, was freed earlier today (February 14).

Mr Khan lost his son and brother to a 2009 CIA drone strike, and had been set to travel to Europe to discuss his experiences with parliamentarians when he disappeared. He was also involved in legal action against the Pakistani police over their refusal to investigate the killing of his relatives.

After being abducted in the early morning hours of 5 February by 15-20 men, 8 of whom were in police uniform, Mr. Khan was taken to a cell in an undisclosed location. Later in the day of 5 February, he was blindfolded and driven for approximately 2-3 hours to another undisclosed location where he remained until his release. While detained, Mr. Khan was interrogated, beaten and tortured. He was placed in chains and repeatedly questioned about his investigations into drone strikes, his knowledge of drone strike victims and his work advocating on their behalf.

In the early hours of this morning (14 February), he was driven to the Tarnol area of Rawlpindi, where he was thrown from a van after being told not to speak to the media.

Mr. Khan is now with his lawyer, Shahzad Akbar, a fellow of human rights charity Reprieve. Mr. Akbar, who is also director of NGO the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, had filed ‘habeas’ proceedings in the courts earlier this week in an attempt to secure Mr. Khan’s release. In response, a judge from the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court had ordered the Ministry of the Interior, which has oversight of the Pakistani intelligence services, to produce Mr. Khan by February 20.

Mr. Khan plans to go ahead with his trip to meet parliamentarians in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands later this week.

Mr. Khan said: “When I was picked up I thought I would never see my family again, that I would never be free again because of all the stories I have heard about disappeared people. Now that I have been released and have seen the news, the efforts of activists, I know it is because of them that I am free, and I would like to thank them.”

Mr. Khan’s lawyer, Shahzad Akbar said: “What happened to Kareem Khan in last few days is nothing new in Pakistan. We are living in a state of lawlessness where the executive enjoys impunity. The lesson learned though this experience is that we must always raise our voices. We need to take this stand for each and every person who disappears, it is the only way to force those in power to listen. That is why I am so thankful to all the local and international activists who spoke out for Kareem.”

Reprieve legal director Kat Craig said: “It is a huge relief that Mr. Khan has finally been released, though we are deeply concerned to hear about the mistreatment he has endured. No one should have to suffer as he and his family have done for simply trying to get to the truth about the deaths of their loved ones. Serious questions remain for the Pakistani Government on how this was allowed to happen.”


PRESS RELEASE: February 12th, 2014

Judge orders intelligence services to produce Kareem Khan by the 20th of February, police admit Kareem Khan was abducted by 20 armed men, 8 in police uniform.

RAWALPINDI: In the matter of the disappearance of anti drone activist and journalist Kareem Khan, Mr. Khan’s brother in law, Dilbar Khan had approached the Lahore High Court Rawalpindi Bench in a Habeas petition.

The police have filed an FIR, dated 11th February, yesterday, after the court’s notice to produce the Petitioner. The police FIR confirms Mr. Khan was abducted by 20 armed men, 8 of whom were in police uniforms.

Kareem’s lawyers informed the court that the intelligence services must have been responsible for picking up Mr. Khan, as the response filed by the police, who were present in court today, included the description of events as told to the court by the Petitioners lawyers. The judge has ordered the various intelligence services under the Ministry of the Interior to produce Mr. Khan by Thursday, the 20th of February.

Mr. Khan was due to travel to Europe this Saturday, where he was scheduled to speak with German, Dutch and British parliamentarians about his personal experience with drone strikes and the impact such strikes are having on his country. He was also scheduled to talk about his work as a freelance journalist investigating other strikes in the region.

Mr. Khan is also involved in legal proceedings on behalf of his brother, Asif Iqbal, a teacher, and his son Zahinullah. Mr. Khan has requested the courts order the Pakistani police to launch a criminal investigation into the strike, arguing it constitutes murder under domestic law. The next hearing date before the Islamabad High Court is scheduled for ( ). Kareem Khan has also been working for over two years in gathering civilian victims of drone strikes and evidence to prove their cases as an investigator for the local legal charity Foundation for Fundamental Rights.

Shahzad Akbar, lawyer for Kareem Khan, and Director of legal charity the Foundation for Fundamental Rights said: ‘It is a shame that Nawaz Sharif has allowed Pakistan to be a police state, where no fundamental rights are available to its citizens. Kareem Khan is not only a victim, but an important voice for all other civilians killed and injured by US drone strikes. Why are the powers that be so scared of Kareem and his work that they felt the need to abduct him in an effort to silence his efforts? Kareem Khan deserves justice and due process and he should be freed immediately of his illegal captivity.’

Foundation for Fundamental Rights is a legal charity, working towards the advancement, protection and enforcement of fundamental human rights given to the citizens of Pakistan and guaranteed under the Constitution of Pakistan. For any further information please contact: Zarmeeneh Rahim email:Zarmeeneh.Rahim@rightsadvocacy.org or call: 051-2293103


PRESS RELEASE: February 12, 2014

Drone victim set to testify before European parliaments disappears after being seized by men in police uniforms

A drone victim who was due to travel to Europe this week to give evidence to parliamentarians was detained on 5 February by unknown elements of the Pakistani police and has not been seen since, according to his family. Kareem Khan, who is also involved in legal proceedings against the Pakistani Government concerning their failure to investigate the deaths of his son and brother in a drone strike, was seized in the early hours at his home in Rawalpindi by 15-20 men in police uniform and plain clothes, say witnesses.

The men did not disclose their identities and no reason was given for the detention. Mr. Khan’s wife and young children were present at the time, as was a neighbour. Despite numerous inquiries to the Pakistani police, Mr. Khan’s family has yet to be able to locate Mr. Khan or discover why he was detained. Today, Reprieve’s local partner, the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, filed habeas proceedings on behalf of the family before the Lahore High Court Rawalpindi Branch.

Mr. Khan was due to travel to Europe this Saturday, where he was scheduled to speak with German, Dutch and British parliamentarians about his personal experience with drone strikes and the impact such strikes are having on his country. He was also scheduled to talk about his work as a freelance journalist investigating other strikes in the region.

Mr. Khan is also involved in legal proceedings on behalf of his brother, Asif Iqbal, a teacher, and his son Zahinullah. Mr. Khan has requested the courts order the Pakistani police to launch a criminal investigation into the strike, arguing it constitutes murder under domestic law. The next hearing date before the Islamabad High Court is scheduled for tomorrow, 11 February 2013.

Shahzad Akbar, lawyer for Kareem Khan, and Director of legal charity the Foundation for Fundamental Rights said:‘It is a shame that Nawaz Sharif has allowed Pakistan to be a police state, where no fundamental rights are available to its citizens. Kareem Khan is not only a victim, but an important voice for all other civilians killed and injured by US drone strikes. Why are the powers that be so scared of Kareem and his work that they felt the need to abduct him in an effort to silence his efforts? Kareem Khan deserves justice and due process and he should be freed immediately of his illegal captivity.’

Clare Algar, Executive Director of Reprieve, a legal human rights charity, said: ‘We are very worried about Mr Khan’s safety. He is a crucial witness to the dangers of the CIA’s covert drone programme, and has simply sought justice for the death of his son and brother through peaceful, legal routes. Reports that he was detained by men in police uniforms are of great concern, and we urge the Government of Pakistan to do everything in its power to secure his immediate release.’

Foundation for Fundamental Rights is a legal charity, working towards the advancement, protection and enforcement of fundamental human rights given to the citizens of Pakistan and guaranteed under the Constitution of Pakistan. For any further information please contact: Zarmeeneh Rahim Email:Zarmeeneh.Rahim@rightsadvocacy.org or call: 051-2293103 Or for further information, please contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 7791 755 415 / donald.campbell@reprieve.org.uk

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