Pakistan delays hanging man convicted at 14

2015-03-22 18:42


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Islamabad - Pakistan's president has postponed by 30 days the execution by hanging of a man convicted of murder when he was a teenager a decade ago, a presidential official told dpa on Sunday.

It was the second postponement for Shafqat Hussain, 24, whose family says he was 14 at the time of his conviction for murder in 2004.

President Mamnoon Hussain on Thursday halted the execution for three days. The postponements will give the interior ministry time to probe the family's claim.

Human rights groups and Pakistani campaigners have been calling on Pakistan to halt the execution, saying Pakistani law prohibits the death sentence for children.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan last week promised to conduct DNA testing to ascertain Hussain's age.

Hussain's death penalty would be commuted to life imprisonment if it is proved that he was under 18 when the crime was committed, said Rizwan Khan, an Islamabad-based lawyer.

The Pakistani government lifted a six-year moratorium on executions in December after Taliban gunmen killed 136 children at an army-run school.

Fifty-two convicts have since been hanged, according to Amnesty International, despite calls by international rights groups and the European Union to reverse the decision.

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