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Pakistani man executed despite appeals

Shafqat Hussain, convicted of killing a child in 2004, has been executed in Pakistan despite appeals from international human rights groups. 

His lawyers and family say that he was only 14 when found guilty and his confession was extracted by torture, but officials say that there is no proof that he was a minor at the time of his conviction.

Authorities hanged Shafqat Hussain shortly before dawn at a Karachi prison according to an official from the prison judicial branch. His family managed to see him for the last time on Monday night.

“Shafqat’s execution speaks to all that is wrong with Pakistan’s race to the gallows,” said Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve.

“He faced a catalogue of injustice, sentenced to death while still a child after being tortured by the police until he produced a so-called confession.”

The execution was postponed four times by legal challenges amid the controversy of executing someone who was supposedly a minor at the time the crime was committed. There was even a social media campaign using the hashtag #SaveShafqat and protests were held in the Pakistani capital to raise awareness about his case.

“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.

By Fiona Carty

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