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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

World

Pakistan judge frees 9-month-old baby accused of attempted murder
AP
Islamabad, April 12, 2014
First Published: 12:49 IST(12/4/2014)
Last Updated: 16:10 IST(12/4/2014)

A Pakistani judge threw out charges of attempted murder against a nine-month-old baby on Saturday, lawyers said, in a case that cast a spotlight on Pakistan's dysfunctional justice system.

The court also launched a separate case to look into how police pressed charges against baby Mohammad Musa after his family clashed with gas company officials in a working class neighbourhood in the eastern city of Lahore.

Nine-month-old baby Musa Khan sits on his grandfather's lap before appearing in a court in Lahore. (Reuters photo)

Police lodged a case against the whole family.

The case drew international attention and sparked ridicule against the Pakistani criminal justice system, after the toddler was photographed crying his lungs out while being fingerprinted in court. His grandfather was later seen trying to comfort him with a milk bottle.

Inspector Kashif Muhammad, who was at the crime scene and pressed attempted murder charges against the baby, has since been suspended.

The charges were in direct contradiction with Pakistan's minimum age of criminal responsibility, which was raised from seven to 12 years in 2013 except in terrorism cases.

Musa's grandfather, Muhammad Yasin, subsequently withdrew a bail application for the baby as the court dropped the case.

Baby Musa Khan appeared in court in the city of Lahore, sitting on his grandfather's lap and drinking from a bottle of milk.

He and his adult relatives were charged this month with attempting to murder a policeman after his family clashed with police and gas company workers trying to collect overdue bills.

Police registered a case against the whole family.

"Police told the court that the nomination of Musa in the case of attacking police and gas company officials was a human error and Musa is not required," defense lawyer Irfan Sadiq told Reuters.

The baby's grandfather, Muhammad Yasin, and his three sons still face the charges.

Pictures taken at an earlier court hearing of Musa crying as he was being fingerprinted provoked widespread ridicule and provincial officials called for an inquiry.

(With inputs from AFP and Reuters)


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