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Pakistan lawyers rally for release, reinstatement of ousted judges

[JURIST] Thousands of lawyers held rallies across Pakistan on Thursday, protesting the ouster of Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry [JURIST news archive] and other superior court judges last November when Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf declared emergency rule [JURIST report] and suspended the country's constitution. The protests followed a statement by Chaudhry [JURIST report] Wednesday in which he called Musharraf an "extremist" and chided him for deposing 60 judges and keeping Chaudhry under virtual house arrest [JURIST report] in his official residence. The lawyers are demanding Musharraf's resignation, the release of all detained judges and lawyers, and the reinstatement of all deposed judges.

Last week, Pakistani lawyers demonstrated in Islamabad [JURIST report] against Chaudhry's continued detention. Also last week, a report [text] by Pakistan's News daily suggested the government's detention of Chaudhry may be skirting constitutional limits on detentions generally [JURIST report]. The Pakistani constitution requires that preventative detention be limited to 90 days unless a review board has extended the detention. The detention period will expire as of January 31, but the government has not referred Chaudhry's case to a review board, instead saying that because Chaudhry and other deposed judges are not being held under court-ordered detention they do not qualify for review. AKI has more.

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