Leeds man on death row in Pakistan: Campaign for justice continues after postponement
Amnesty International, Reprieve and Fair Trials Abroad are pleased that Mirza Tahir Hussain will not now be executed on 1 November but reacted with anger that he has today been given a postponement and not been freed.
His brother Amjad Hussain was also angered by the move:
“In postponing the execution President Musharraf has clearly recognised the strength of public feeling over this case but the correct response would have been for him to pardon my brother or commute his sentence, not to merely postpone this barbaric punishment, presumably in the hope that the fuss will die down.
“My brother did not commit the crime of murder that he has been convicted of. His trial was unfair and his detention in Pakistan for the last 18 years on questionable evidence has destroyed all our lives. While this postponement gives me and my family a little relief, we now face another two months of agonising uncertainty.”
Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:
“This postponement is not enough and Mirza Tahir Hussain should have been freed today, recognising the serious doubts that exist about the safety of his conviction.
“If the Pakistani authorities believe that a two-month postponement until New Year’s Eve means that our resolve will weaken, they are wrong. We will continue to press the Pakistani authorities, for as long as it takes, until we know that Mirza Tahir Hussain will not, at any time, be executed. And we expect the UK Government to do the same.”
Fair Trials Abroad Chief Executive Catherine Wolthuizen said:
“We continue to examine all options to free Mirza Tahir Hussain. The planned execution of an innocent man is a travesty of justice which can only be cured by his release. All political, diplomatic and legal avenues must be explored to secure his freedom.”
A broad coalition of organisations is campaigning on Mirza Tahir Hussain’s behalf. Led by Amnesty International, they include the Islamic Human Rights Commission, the Muslim Parliament of Britain, Reprieve, Fair Trials Abroad, and the Bar Human Rights Committee. The campaign is also supported by MPs and MEPs of all political parties including John Battle MP, Hilary Benn MP, Greg Mulholland MP, Sajjad Karim MEP and Edward Macmillan-Scott MEP, Geoffrey von Orden MEP, Richard Corbett MEP, Diana Wallis MEP and Linda McAvan MEP.
Mirza Tahir Hussain was sentenced to death in Pakistan in 1989 for the murder of a local taxi driver. He alleges the driver attempted to assault him and that he killed the man in self-defence. An execution warrant was issued on 20 July 2006 saying that Mirza Tahir Hussain is to be hanged on Thursday 3 August.