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UN rights experts bash Pakistan president over chief justice suspension

[JURIST] Two independent UN rights experts voiced concern Wednesday over Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's recent suspension [JURIST report] of Pakistan Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry [official profile] for "misuse of office" and ensuing protests across the country. In a joint statement [press release], UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Leandro Despouy [official website] and the Secretary-General's Special Representative on the situation of human rights defenders Hina Jilani [official website] accused Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf of interfering with the independence of the judiciary, violating protections listed in the Pakistan Constitution [text]. Despouy and Jilani also condemned the "excessive force used against peaceful demonstrators" - many of them lawyers - in recent street protests [JURIST report].

Although Musharraf suspended Chaudhry on March 12, the specific charges [JURIST report] relating to his suspension were not disclosed until Wednesday. Chaudhry's suspension sparked the resignation of seven Pakistan judges Monday and a deputy attorney general on Tuesday, while lawyers have boycotted the courts [JURIST reports] since the suspension. The UN News Service has more.

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