ISLAMABAD: Pakistan must immediately impose a moratorium on the death penalty after the execution of a man who was below 18 years old at the time of the crime, according to his lawyers, and who was tortured into a “confession” by police, Amnesty International said in a statement issued here on Tuesday.
Shafqat Hussain, who was sentenced to death for kidnapping and involuntary manslaughter in 2004, was hanged in Karachi Central Jail on Tuesday. He was convicted under the Anti-Terrorism Act of Pakistan despite no known links to any terrorist organisation. His execution had been stayed four times since Pakistan lifted the moratorium on executions in December 2014.
“This is another deeply sad day for Pakistan. A man whose age remains disputed and whose conviction was built around torture has now paid with his life – and for a crime for which the death penalty cannot be imposed under international law,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s South Asia Research Director.
“The government has shown a callous indifference to not just human life, but also to international law and standards. It has even ignored recommendations by one of its own bodies, the Sindh Human Rights Commission, to request the Supreme Court to consider the evidence relating to his juvenility and ‘confession’ extracted through torture.” Since Pakistan lifted a moratorium on executions in December 2014, Amnesty International has recorded at least 200 executions.
“It is too late to save Shafqat Hussain’s life, but there are still thousands of others on death row in Pakistan who are at risk. The government has taken at least 200 lives already over the past eight months – this must end immediately. Authorities must impose a moratorium on the death penalty with a view to its eventual repeal,” David Griffths said.