Pakistan

Two hanged for rape, murder in Punjab

FAISALABAD: Two death row convicts were hanged to death in Faisalabad Central Jail early Friday morning, ARY News reported.

A total of 27 people have been executed in Pakistan since the government restarted executions in December, prompting condemnation from international human rights organisations.

AFP adds: Sajid Ali and Muhammad Akhtar were hanged in a prison in the eastern city of Faisalabad, prison chief Farooq Nazir said.

Akhtar was convicted for the 1999 rape of a woman and murder of man, while Ali was sentenced to death for killing a woman in 2000.

Both were convicted under anti-terrorism legislation, which is frequently used in cases unrelated to terrorism to circumvent the cripplingly slow criminal courts.

Local prison officials confirmed the executions.

Reintroducing the death penalty was part of Pakistan’s move to step up the fight against militants and criminals following a Taliban massacre at a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar in December.

Heavily armed gunmen went from room to room at the army-run school gunning down 154 people, most of them children, in an attack that horrified the world.

Related: Death row convict executed in Toba Tek Singh

The United Nations, the European Union, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called on Pakistan to re-impose its moratorium on the death penalty.

The death penalty moratorium, in force since 2008, was initially lifted only in terrorism cases, but the government extended it to all capital crimes earlier this week.

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