For Immediate Release
High Court Dismisses Appeal to Stop Execution of Pakistani Convicted Aged 14
LONDON - The Sindh High Court has dismissed an appeal by lawyers seeking a stay of execution for Shafqat Hussain, a Pakistani convicted aged 14 following nine days of police torture.
The execution of those convicted as juveniles is illegal in Pakistan, as is the use of torture evidence. In January, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar announced to Pakistan’s National Assembly that it would conduct an inquiry into Shafqat’s conviction. However, it has failed to do so and last week issued an execution warrant for Thursday (19th).
Shafqat’s lawyers from Justice Project Pakistan argued that the scheduling of the execution without the full inquiry that was promised is illegal and arbitrary, as well as highlighting the fact that he was convicted as a child and using evidence extracted through torture. Despite the High Court rejecting the appeal, the Pakistani government retains the right to stay executions up until the last minute.
German and Italian representatives from the European Union attended today's hearing.
The Ministry of the Interior announced this morning that 12 men had been hanged, the largest number of executions since Pakistan lifted its death penalty moratorium on December 17th. The number of those on Pakistan’s death row who were convicted as juveniles is not known.
Maya Foa, Director of Reprieve’s death penalty team, said: “Time to save Shafqat is running out. Minister Nisar has the opportunity to save the life of someone tortured into ‘confessing’ to a crime when he was just a child, and to conduct the full inquiry into his case that he promised. In the interests of justice, he must take this opportunity and put a halt to Shafqat’s execution - and all others - while a full and proper inquiry is carried out.”
Reprieve is a UK-based human rights organization that uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.