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
"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