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Pakistan hangs 4 more convicts; delays youth’s execution


Islamabad: Pakistan today hanged four more death-row prisoners, including two brothers, as it postponed by three days the execution of a man whose family alleged he was a minor at the time of crime and that his confession was extracted through torture.

Three prisoners were executed in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail while the fourth was hanged to death in Mianwali Jail.

Brothers Mohammad Asghar and Ghulam Mohammad were awarded the death penalty by a district and sessions judge for killing two of their relatives in 1996. Another convict Gulistan Zaman was hanged for killing a man in 1998.

The fourth death-row convict, Abdul Sattar, was executed in Mianwali Jail. Sattar was sentenced to death for killing a man over a personal feud in 1992.

Today’s executions took the number of prisoners hanged across the country to 54 after Pakistan resumed executions by lifting a moratorium on death penalty in the aftermath of the deadly Taliban attack on an army-run school in Peshawar on December 16 last year.

Yesterday, nine death-row prisoners were executed while 12 were hanged on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the execution of Shafqat Hussain was postponed for 72 hours just a few hours before his hanging was scheduled to take place this morning.

Hussain was convicted by an anti-terrorism court for kidnapping and killing a 7-year-old boy.

Rights bodies allege that Hussain was just 14 at the time of crime in 2004 and that he was tortured to confess the killing, while the jail record showed him as 23 years old.

His family had urged the President to postpone the hanging who in an overnight decision delayed the execution for 72 hours to let the authorities investigate the allegations, an official of the interior ministry said.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Tuesday that he would ask the government to postpone Hussain’s death if any credible document was provided to prove that he was a minor at the time of conviction.

Under Pakistani laws, anyone below 18 years can be given a maximum of life imprisonment. There are more than 8,000 prisoners in the country on death row.

In a report published today, the Dawn quoted Nisar as saying that executions of Hussain and another death-row convict Saulat Mirza were stayed for 72 hours as they were “not well enough to be hanged”.

“So for different cases, for different reasons we stayed both the executions for 72 hours. This decision was taken late last night,” he said.

Nisar also said that while no documentary evidence has been given to him that confirms Hussain’s status as a juvenile, the government issued a stay on his execution due to the questions being raised on Pakistan’s justice system.

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