Pakistan 'turning itself into one of the world's top executioners'
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 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.
David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director, said:
“At this rate, Pakistan is turning itself into one of the world’s top executioners – a shameful club no country should aspire to join.
“International law clearly prohibits the use of the death penalty against people who were below 18 years old when the crime was committed.
“Today’s hangings sadly show the horrific consequences of the government’s decision to resume executions to include all death row prisoners. With thousands of people on death row and most having exhausted their appeals process, the number of lives at risk is staggering.
"The death penalty is always a human rights violation, but the serious fair trial concerns that riddle Pakistan's justice system makes its use there even more troubling."
Another person convicted under the age of 18, Shafqat Hussain, is set to be executed on Thursday – Amnesty has raised fair trial concerns around his case.