American Board of Trial Advocates Urges Restoration of Rule of Law; Supports Pakistan Lawyers and Judges

Nov 13, 2007, 00:00 ET from American Board of Trial Advocates

    DALLAS, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- The 6,300 members of the
 American Board of Trial Advocates have urged President Bush and Secretary
 of State Rice to condemn the acts of Pakistan President Gen. Pervez
 Musharraf, who, in effect, imposed martial law and suspended the
 constitution and courts of Pakistan.
     "Sadly, history has repeatedly shown us that actions such as these are
 usually the precursor to the total suppression of individual rights and
 freedoms of a country and its people," said ABOTA President Lewis R.
 Sifford. "It is the inherent right of free people to speak openly and
 critically of their government and leaders and a country's constitution --
 courts, judges and attorneys are safeguards of that precious right."
     In Nov. 9 letters to President Bush and Secretary of State Rice, Mr.
 Sifford urged the United States to take all reasonable steps to condemn the
 acts of President Musharraf and to demand cessation of the oppression of
 the Pakistani people and their constitution, courts, judges and attorneys.
     "The suppression of the rule of law in Pakistan and the arrests,
 detentions, and beatings of judges and attorneys who have opposed such
 actions must be condemned in the strongest and most forceful way by the
 government of the United States," Mr. Sifford said.
     Pakistan president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, made an emergency
 declaration saying he needed additional powers to combat terrorism. The
 chief justice of the country's Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry,
 was fired by General Musharraf on Nov. 3 and has been placed under house
 arrest. His arrest came days before the Supreme Court was expected to
 declare Gen. Musharraf ineligible for another term in office.
     Gen. Musharraf suspended the Constitution, dissolved the Supreme Court,
 and blacked out all independent and international television news channels
 in Pakistan. Supreme Court judges, like Mr. Chaudhry, who refused to
 declare the general's move legal, were placed under house arrest.
     Mr. Sifford also voiced concerns about the threats to judicial
 independence, the deliberate violations against lawyers, and suspending a
 country's constitution.
     "The American Board of Trial Advocates steadfastly supports the rule of
 law in Pakistan and all who bravely defy the attempts to suppress or end
 it," Mr. Sifford said.
     ABOTA is a national association of more than 6,300 experienced judges
 and trial lawyers. Founded in 1958, ABOTA is a national association of
 experienced trial lawyers and judges. ABOTA and its members are dedicated
 to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial right provided by
 the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
     The Foundation of ABOTA is an affiliated charitable entity, the mission
 of which is to support the purposes of ABOTA through education and
 research. ABOTA membership consists of more than 6,300 lawyers and judges
 spread among 93 Chapters in all 50 States and the District of Columbia.
 ABOTA publishes Voir Dire magazine, which features in-depth articles on
 current and historical issues related to constitutional rights, in
 particular the Seventh Amendment right to trial by jury.

SOURCE American Board of Trial Advocates