KARACHI- A Death row inmate, Shafqat Hussain who has been convicted of kidnapping and involuntary murder of a seven-year old boy in 2001, who lived in Karachi at an apartment building where Shafqat worked as a security guard.
He was sentenced to death in 2004, and since then his hanging has been continued to delay. It has been reprieved again for the fourth time on late Monday night, hours before he was due to be taken to the gallows.
It is pertinent to mention that his execution orders have been highly criticized by the human rights organization and civil society representatives as they deem his case dubious on the ground that he was a minor at the time of crime and also that the evidence of his crimes is dubious. He was brutally tortured into making a confession.
International organizations such as Amnesty International and United Nations have intensely lobbied the authorities of Pakistan to halt the execution which has been scheduled for June 9, 2015.
But all the appeals and the protests have been turned down by the authorities. Not only this, but also Supreme Court threw out the review petition which mentioned for the first time the issue of his age, on the grounds that this point should have been mentioned previously at the trial court level.
As a response to this, Shafqat’s legal team maintained that his earlier defense attorneys did not present his case competently due to which this point was ignored in the past.
Two months ago, Shafqat was given a last minute reprieve and the Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan ordered to investigate the case thoroughly. Last month, it was concluded by an FIA inquiry that Shafqat was of 23 at the time he committed crime and he was not at all a minor.
Shafqat was due to be taken to the gallows on January 14, but the execution was halted in the face of protests, then his execution was scheduled at March 19, but one day before the order was stayed first for 72 hours and then for 30 days.
After that the hanging was ordered again on April 24, to be conducted on May 6 but was delayed by the verdict on a petition filed by the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) which demanded a judicial inquiry into the age of the inmate.
The anti-terrorism court in Karachi issued a fresh warrant ordering his execution on June 9th.
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