Coronavirus scare: Islamabad High Court orders release of low-risk prisoners

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minullah heard the case regarding the release of 1,362 prisoners in overcrowded jails


ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Friday ordered the issuance of bail for prisoners who are facing trial for minor crimes in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minullah made the decision after hearing a case regarding 1,362 prisoners being incarcerated in overcrowded jails.

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

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

However, Justice Minallah worried that the coronavirus outbreak had worsened in China after it spread among prisoners.

He said the prisons in Pakistan are in dire straits and if (God forbid) any prisoner becomes infected, the situation would get out of control.

While responding to the Advocate General Islamabad’s query that if the relief would also apply to prisoners facing NAB trial, the IHC judge said that the court has already told the authority to avoid ‘unnecessary arrests’.

The court also ordered the release of suspects currently in police custody.