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EU, rights groups urge Pakistan to call off Shafqat Hussain’s execution

The request was put forward during the meeting of European Union’s delegation with CM Sindh. The delegation was of the view that Shafqat Hussain was convicted as a juvenile.

Replying to their request, Qaim Ali Shah said that an application in this regard has already sent to federal government.

According to sources, leading rights groups Amnesty International, Child Rights International Network, Defence for Children International, Human Rights Watch, Redress and the legal charity Reprieve have written a letter to President Mamnoon Hussain requesting Pakistan to grant clemency to Shafqat Hussain.

Pakistan must immediately halt the imminent execution of a man whose lawyers maintain was a juvenile at the time of his alleged crime and who claims to have been tortured into a “confession”, Amnesty International said.

Despite serious questions about the fairness of this investigation, Shafqat Hussain is now set to be sent to the gallows on Tuesday  June 9.

“The farce around Shafqat Hussain’s execution has gone on for far too long – it is time to end it once and for all. The state has failed to prove definitively that Shafqat was over 18 years of age at the time of his alleged crimes. Sentencing a juvenile offender to death, let alone executing him, is a clear violation of both international and Pakistani law,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

“Shafqat has now spent 11 years in prison after allegedly being tortured into a ‘confession’, with the threat of death constantly hanging over him. President Mamnoon Hussain now has a chance to avoid a travesty of justice by staying Shafqat’s execution and granting his mercy petition – he must do so before it is too late.”

In an open letter yesterday, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reprieve and three other organizations urged President Mamnoon Hussain to grant clemency to Shafqat Hussein.

Executions in Pakistan have picked up pace alarmingly over the past months. At least 150 people have been put to death since the government lifted a moratorium on executions on December 16 2014, and the lives of thousands more death row prisoners are at risk.

“Pakistan is fast turning into one of the world’s top executioners. While Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all circumstances, Shafqat Hussain’s case points to the many issues in the justice system that makes its use so troubling in Pakistan. Widespread use of torture and serious questions about the fairness of trials are just some of these,” said David Griffiths.

“Pakistan must immediately re-impose a moratorium on executions with a view towards the full abolition of the death penalty.”

Shafqat Hussain, convicted of killing a seven-year-old boy in Karachi in 2004. Later he was arrested and during his first interrogation admitted kidnapping and killing Umair, whose body was found in a plastic bag in a stream.

He later withdrew his confession, saying he had made it under duress, but the case came before an anti-terrorism court which sentenced him to death.

Shafqat Hussain had been due to face the noose on January 14 but the government halted the execution amid protests about his age, and ordered an investigation.

However, the investigation report proved that Hussain was 23 years old when he was awarded with the death sentence.

Earlier this month, Anti Terrorism Court (ATC) issued fresh death warrants for the condemned prisoner after a letter of Superintendent Central Jail Karachi, saying that the stay period of Shafqat Hussain’s execution was over.

According to black warrants, Shafqat Hussain will be executed at 4:30 am on June 9.



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