In Pakistan, Kashmiri Man Escapes Gallows Fourth Time



Shafqat Hussain's parents displaying his pic.
Shafqat Hussain’s parents displaying his pic.

A man from “Azad Kashmir” was granted a fourth reprieve Tuesday in a murder case he allegedly committed in Pakistan when he was a teenager.

The case that has drawn widespread condemnation from human rights groups saw the Pakistani Supreme Court sparing Shafqat Hussain, 24, hours before he was due to be executed for an alleged murder.

He was arrested and sentenced to death in 2004 for the kidnapping and death of a 7-year-old boy.

Hussain’s family members, however, say he was “tortured into confessing” as his body still bears scars from the beatings he received from police.

Notably, Amnesty International has called the proceedings a “farce” and said Pakistani authorities haven’t proved Hussain adult at the time of crime.

But the Pakistan Interior Ministry is adamant to claim that he was an adult—even though, the age of majority is 18 in Pakistan.

Hussain is the youngest of seven siblings from the Pakistani-administered Kashmir. His family members say they were too poor to hire a lawyer for him.  “But we are thankful to international and local organizations which supported us,” Gul Zaman, Hussain’s elder brother was quoted as saying.

Pertinently, Pakistan has executed at least 150 people since the government lifted a moratorium last December. With thousands more remain on death row, rights groups have raised questions in Hussain’s case.

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