Pakistan/UK: Leeds man to be executed on Wednesday 1 November 2006

Amnesty calls on President Musharraf and Prime Minister Blair to immediately halt the execution Reacting with disappointment to the news that UK-Pakistani joint national Mirza Hussain is to be executed on Wednesday 1 November 2006, the family, Amnesty International and other human rights organisations involved in the campaign renewed their appeals to President Musharraf to intervene to stop the death sentence being carried out. The 36-year-old man from Leeds was sentenced to death in Pakistan in 1989 for the murder of a local taxi driver. He alleges the driver attempted to assault him. In the scuffle that followed, the gun went off, and the taxi driver was fatally injured. Mirza Tahir has been tried 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 and that his conviction is unsafe. Only last week, the UK Government pledged it would do everything in its power to secure a reprieve for Mirza Hussain. Amjad Hussain, brother of Mirza Hussain, said: “This is now a matter of utmost urgency as time is fast running out for my brother. There are now only 16 days until Mirza could face death by execution. “President Musharraf does have the power to step in and stop the execution of an innocent man - and he should exercise it. “My brother’s trial was unfair and his detention in Pakistan for the last 18 years has had a devastating impact on 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 UK and EU governments to urgently remind Pakistan of its human rights obligations. He must not disregard human rights and justice.” Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen 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 and in this case Amnesty International is particularly concerned that the Pakistani justice system will execute a man after an unfair trial.” 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.

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