Pakistan hangs Shafqat Hussain despite appeals

Defenders say convict was a teenager when he killed a boy in 2004 and that he was tortured into confessing.

    Pakistan has executed a man whose case triggered an international outcry after his lawyers said he was arrested as a juvenile and tortured into confessing to a murder.

    Shafqat Hussain was hanged on Tuesday at a jail in Karachi for allegedly killing a seven-year-old boy in 2004.

    His lawyers and family say he was only 15 years old at the time of the killing but according to a federal investigation, he was 23.

    "Despite opposition from within the country as well as Amnesty International, Pakistan went ahead with the execution," said Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Pakistan's capital Islamabad.

    Prison officials handed the body over to his brothers, who alleged the execution was not carried out properly.

     

    "There is a cut mark on his neck and half of his neck is separated from his body," Abdul Majeed, his brother, told AFP.

    At Hussain's hometown in the Pakistani-administered part of Kashmir, his family was distraught.

    "Why did they hang my innocent brother, only because we were poor?" said his sister Sumaira Bibi, beating her chest and weeping.

    "My son was innocent, only Allah will prove his innocence in his court," his mother Makhni Begum told AFP.

    "We can't do anything but they [executioners] will face Allah on the day of judgement," she said. 

    United Nations rights experts have said Hussain's trial "fell short of international standards" and urged Pakistan to investigate claims he confessed under torture, as well as his age.

    Burned with cigarettes

    Lawyers for Hussain said school records showed he was 17 in 2004 when he was burned with cigarettes and had fingernails removed until he confessed to killing a child.

    Hussain was originally due to face the noose in January but won four stays of execution as his lawyers fought to prove he was under 18 at the time of his offence and could therefore not be executed under Pakistani law.

    Pakistan has hanged nearly 200 people since December, when a massacre by the Taliban at an army-run school in Peshawar prompted the government to lift a de facto ban on capital punishment.

    Only Iran and China have executed more people than Pakistan this year, says Amnesty International.

    The family of Shafqat, centre, maintain that he was innocent and tortured into confessing to the murder [AP]

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera And AFP


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