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IHC grants bail to 408 prisoners amid coronavirus fears

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has granted bail to 408 prisoners imprisoned at Adiala Jail under minor offences amid coronavirus fears, ARY News reported on Tuesday.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah approved bail petitions of the prisoners.

The bench also constituted a committee to materialize the release of 408 prisoners on bail. The committee included Director General Anti Narcotics Force (ANF), deputy commissioner, I.G. Police and other concerned officials.

The district administration in Islamabad had earlier decided to release prisoners jailed over petty crimes amid fears of coronavirus outbreak in overcrowded jails.

The Islamabad administration had earlier decided to release 230 prisoners in first phase on bail, jailed over petty offences.

Those freed were jailed for their involvement in cases of dishonored cheques, beggars act and other minor crimes.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minullah conducted hearing on a case pertaining to 1,362 prisoners being incarcerated in overcrowded jails.

During the hearing, the court inquired from officials if prisoners who are facing jail-term without having been tried could be released.

Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Hamza Shafqat assured the court that no prisoner held at Adiala Jail has been infected with the coronavirus.

The IHC directed the deputy commissioner to appoint an officer to oversee the matters pertaining to surety bonds of the detainees.

Before releasing a prisoner, proper screening shall be conducted by authorized officials nominated by the Ministry of National Health Services and Coordination, Government of Pakistan or the Director General (Health), Government of Pakistan, as the case may be. The officials shall also ensure the screening of fresh admittance,” reads the verdict.

The Deputy Commissioner, Islamabad Capital Territory shall identify such prisoners who are eligible to be considered for release under the Prison Rules, the Probation of Crl. Misc. No.214/2020 Offenders Ordinance, 1960 and section 410(1) of the Cr.P.C. after identifying the eligible prisoners, their respective cases shall be processed under the relevant laws, reads the verdict.

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