Pakistan/UK: Leeds man’s stay of execution in Pakistan has passed, execution could happen any day

President Musharraf says it is beyond his power to intervene

The stay of execution on joint UK-Pakistani national, Mirza Tahir Hussain, expired yesterday (Sunday 1 October), meaning that he could expect to receive a ‘death warrant’ with his execution date at any time.

On the same day President Musharraf of Pakistan gave an interview to ITV’s Sunday Edition programme in the UK where he said that the law does not permit him to intervene to stop the death sentence being carried out.

36 year old 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. Mirza Tahir has been tried several times in both the religious and secular courts in Pakistan and twice acquitted of the crime. Amnesty International is seriously concerned that his trials were unfair.

Amjad Hussain, brother of Mirza Tahir Hussain, said:

“My family is now desperate. My brother, who has spent all his adult like in a Pakistan jail, could receive notice of his execution any time. It is not true that President Musharraf cannot stop the execution of an innocent man in the country where he is President. It is clear that the constitution does permit him to do so.

“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 has destroyed all our lives. I implore President Musharraf to end our agony and commute the sentence immediately.

“My family and the coalition of organisations working on my brother’s case also call on the European Union institutions and the British government to pressure Pakistan to conform with the human rights commitments it has made or face the consequences of disregarding international human rights law.”

Amnesty International UK Death Penalty Campaigner Sara MacNeice said:

“The Pakistani justice system is riddled with serious deficiencies and should never allow executions. The death penalty is always cruel and unnecessary and doesn’t deter crime, but in Pakistan it is being applied after deeply dubious trials.”

A broad coalition of organisations are campaigning on Mirza Tahir Hussain’s behalf. They include Amnesty International, 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 Been MP, Greg Mulholland MP, Sajjad Karim MEP and Edward Macmillan-Scott MEP.

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