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Pakistan

    September 21, 2015

    Pakistan must halt tomorrow’s scheduled hanging of a paraplegic man who developed tubercular (TB) meningitis while on death row, and immediately impose a moratorium on all executions, Amnesty International said.

    Abdul Basit, who is paralysed from the waist down, was convicted of murder six years ago but has always maintained his innocence.

    His execution was originally due to be carried out on 29 July 2015, but the Lahore High Court stayed his execution at the 11th hour after a petition was filed by his lawyers arguing his hanging would constitute cruel and inhuman punishment. The Court rejected the petition and gave the prison authorities a green light for the hanging to go ahead on 22 September.

    “Instead of debating the logistics of how to put a man in a wheelchair to death, the authorities in Pakistan should grant reprieve to Abdul Basit,” said Sultana Noon, Amnesty International’s Pakistan Researcher.

    August 04, 2015

    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.

    Shafqat Hussain, who was sentenced to death for kidnapping and involuntary manslaughter in 2004, was this morning hanged in Karachi Central Jail. 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.

    June 10, 2015

    The shameful execution in Pakistan of a man who was just 15 years old at the time of the crime for which he was convicted highlights the many serious concerns around the country’s use of the death penalty, Amnesty International said.

    Aftab Bahadur was hanged in a Lahore jail this morning. In September 1992, aged 15, he was arrested and charged with the murder earlier that same month of a woman and her two sons.

    Aftab Bahadur was implicated in the crime by his co-accused Ghulam Mustafa, who later maintained that he was tortured into “confessing” their involvement in the crime while in police custody. Ghulam Mustafa’s execution was also scheduled for today but it was halted at the last minute.

    “This is a desperately sad day – Aftab Bahadur has spent more than two decades languishing on death row even as evidence of his apparent innocence emerged, and has now faced the gallows. He has always maintained his innocence and that he was tortured into a ‘confession’,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    June 08, 2015

    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.

    The case of Shafqat Hussain, who was convicted of and sentenced to death for kidnapping and involuntary manslaughter in 2014, has caused enormous controversy in Pakistan. His execution has been stayed three times, and on the last occasion on 6 May was stopped at the 11th hour after a public outcry, pending an investigation into his age at the time of the crime and allegations that he had been subjected to torture.

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

    May 13, 2015

    The killing of more than 40 Ismaili Shi’a Muslims in Karachi marks a new low in a campaign of sectarian violence that has left Pakistan’s religious minorities fearing for their lives while extremists in the country operate with impunity, said Amnesty International.

    The attack on a bus carrying the Ismailis, claimed by the Jundullah group, highlights both the ever-present threat of violence and the authorities’ persistent failure to prosecute the perpetrators and to protect religious minorities.

    “We deplore this unprovoked assault and the tragic loss of life,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Asia Pacific.

    “While attacks on the Ismailis are rare, attacks by the Jundullah group are not. The extremists have claimed responsibility for many killings, including a 2013 attack on a church in Peshawar in which more than 80 Christians were killed. None of these attacks have been investigated or prosecuted in a thorough and transparent manner.”

    April 28, 2015

    Pakistan has today reached a “shameful milestone” with the 100th execution since a moratorium on executions was lifted in December 2014, said Amnesty International. The country is gaining a reputation as one of the leading executioners in the world.
     
    Amnesty International recorded the 100th execution in Pakistan today, since a moratorium was lifted on 17 December 2014 in the wake of the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar. Munir Hussain, sentenced to death for murder, was hanged in Punjab province this morning.

    “In reaching this shameful milestone of 100 executions in just over four months, the Pakistani authorities are showing total disregard for human life. Our concerns are heightened by manifestly unfair trials in many cases that fall well below minimum standards set by international law. This conveyor belt of killing will do nothing to address the root causes of crime and terrorism, and must end immediately,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    April 16, 2015

    The Pakistan Supreme Court’s decision to suspend death sentences passed by military courts is an important recognition of serious questions about the lawfulness of the country’s new military tribunal system, Amnesty International said.

    The Supreme Court today suspended death sentences imposed by military courts, after the Supreme Court Bar Association challenged a constitutional amendment passed in January that sped up the prosecution of terror cases and moved them from civilian to military courts.

    There are more than 8,000 prisoners on death row in Pakistan. Since a moratorium on the execution of civilians was lifted in December, at least 76 people have been executed.

    “This ruling by the Supreme Court is a step in the right direction, which points to something being very wrong in the government’s relentless rush to execute death row prisoners since December,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    March 17, 2015

    The mass execution of 12 people in Pakistan today highlights the horrific consequences of the government’s decision to resume executions for all death row prisoners, Amnesty International said.

    The 12 men were hanged in prisons across the country this morning and had been convicted of crimes including “terrorism” and murder. Since a moratorium on executions was lifted in December 2014, Pakistan has put 39 people to death. Amongst those executed was Muhammad Afzal, who was 16 years old when he was sentenced to death.

    Last week, Pakistan’s government confirmed a change in its policy on the death penalty by announcing that executions would resume for all capital crimes, not just for prisoners convicted on “terrorism”-related offenses.

    “The news that 12 more people were executed in Pakistan this morning is dismaying. The government is apparently intent on making good on promises to send everyone, including children, sentenced to death to the gallows,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    March 10, 2015

    Thousands of death row prisoners in Pakistan have been brought a step closer to the gallows today as Pakistan’s government confirmed a change in its policy on the death penalty by announcing that executions would resume for all capital crimes, Amnesty International said.

    “This shameful retreat to the gallows is no way to resolve Pakistan’s pressing security and law and order problems,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

    “Three people have already been executed this year for non-terrorism-related offences. Today’s announcement is a chilling confirmation of the extent of the government’s execution plans.”

    Last December, authorities in Pakistan partially lifted a moratorium on the death penalty which had been in place since 2008. Coming in the wake of a massacre of mostly schoolchildren in Peshawar, this relaxation of the ban allowed the death penalty to be used only in terrorism cases.

    February 13, 2015

    The execution of two men convicted of non-terrorism-related offences marks a disturbing and dangerous escalation in Pakistan’s use of the death penalty since a moratorium was lifted in December last year, Amnesty International said.

    Muhammad Riaz and Muhammad Fiaz were hanged this morning in Mirpur Central Prison in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir region. The two men were convicted of murdering the son of the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association in 2004, and given death sentences in 2005.

    Pakistan lifted a moratorium on executions on 17 December 2014 – in the wake of the Peshawar school massacre – on prisoners convicted of “terrorism” offences in Anti-Terror Courts. However, today’s hangings mark the first executions of prisoners convicted by ordinary courts.

    “Today’s executions mark a disturbing and dangerous escalation of Pakistan’s use of the death penalty since a moratorium was lifted. The government has apparently gone against its own stated policy of only executing those convicted on terrorism charges,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    January 16, 2015

    Pakistan’s government must immediately put an end to the spate of executions in the country in the wake of the Peshawar school attack, which has already seen 19 people put to death over the past month, Amnesty International said.

    Since a moratorium on executions was lifted on 17 December, Pakistan has threatened to send to the gallows around 500 death row prisoners convicted on terrorism charges. Another execution - of Ikramul Haq, member of the armed group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and convicted for murdering a Shi’a Muslim in 2004 - is scheduled for tomorrow in Lahore.

    “The killing spree that is unfolding in Pakistan must end immediately. As horrific as the Peshawar attack was, proving you are tough on crime by carrying out more killings is never the answer to combating violence,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    “The government should immediately reinstate a moratorium on executions with a view to the eventual abolition of the death penalty.”

    December 22, 2014

    Pakistan’s reported plans to execute 500 more people are “deeply disturbing” and would do nothing to protect civilians from the conflict with the Taliban, Amnesty International said today. 

    The reports come following the execution of six people in the past four days in the wake of the deadly Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar.

    “The planned execution figures being quoted are deeply disturbing and indicate a huge regression from a government which until last week maintained a moratorium on executions,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director. 

    “Pakistan suffered an horrific tragedy in Peshawar last week, but resorting to the death penalty and threatening to carry out large numbers of executions masks rather than addresses the underlying problems that need to be tackled by the government – namely that communities living in the north-west of Pakistan are gravely at risk from violence and human rights abuses.”

    December 19, 2014

    Resuming the death penalty is not the answer to combating terrorism in Pakistan and only perpetuates a cycle of violence, Amnesty International said as two people were executed in the country today for the first time since 2012.

    Two people who had been convicted over their role in two separate Taliban attacks were hanged in Pakistan today. They were the first executions since the government lifted a moratorium on executions for those tried of terrorism-related charges this week in response to the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar that killed at least 142 people.

    “It is extremely disappointing that the government has given into fear and anger by executing two people today. As horrific as the attack on the Peshawar school was, more killings – this time by the government – is never the answer to combating terrorism and crime,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    “This is a cynical reaction from the government. It masks a failure to deal with the core issue highlighted by the Peshawar attack, namely the lack of effective protection for civilians in north-west Pakistan.”

    December 17, 2014

    The Pakistani government must resist giving in to fear and anger in the wake of the Peshawar school tragedy and maintain its moratorium on executions, Amnesty International said today after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to restart executions for terrorism-related offences.

    “Yesterday’s attack was utterly reprehensible, and it is imperative that those responsible for this unimaginable tragedy are brought to justice. However, resorting to the death penalty is not the answer – it is never the answer,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Asia-Pacific.

    Sharif’s announcement came the day after at least 142 people – including 132 children – were killed by Taliban militants at an army-run school in the north-western city.

    “Pakistan is understandably gripped by fear and anger in the wake of the attacks. However, lifting the moratorium on executions appears to be a knee-jerk reaction which does not get at the heart of the problem – namely the lack of effective protection for civilians in north-west Pakistan,” said David Griffiths.

    December 16, 2014

    Today’s Taliban attack on a school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar shows a merciless disregard for human life and highlights the urgent need for protection of civilians in the area, Amnesty International said.  

    At least 126 people, mainly children, were killed when several armed men entered the school and began firing indiscriminately at students and teachers in one of the most shocking Taliban attacks in recent memory.

    “There can be absolutely no justification for targeting children in this way. This unconscionable Taliban attack is a grave reminder that civilians in north-west Pakistan desperately need effective protection from militant groups,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Asia-Pacific.

    “Of prime importance now is that the Pakistani authorities take effective steps to protect civilians and minimize the risk of this type of sickening tragedy being repeated.”

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