Target: Mamnoon Hussain, President of Pakistan
Goal: Halt execution of man who was tortured into confessing to a crime at 14 years old that he did not commit.
A young man sentenced to death at the age of 14 will soon be executed in Pakistan. Shafqat Hussain was handed the death penalty after confessing to the murder of another young boy in 2004, even though authorities coerced him into confessing by torturing him. While Pakistani law makes executing children illegal, a Karachi judge recently issued an order to proceed with the delayed execution, overturning government pledges to examine the case.
The child, who was from a poor area, moved to Karachi to become a janitor at age 13. One year later, he was apprehended and questioned about the disappearance of another child his apartment complex, and kept in custody for nine days. During this time, Hussain’s defense claims that he was tied up, blindfolded, and beaten by authorities, who intimidated him into signing a confession. He was then tried in a court usually reserved for terrorists, where his age was not considered during his sentencing and he was unable to call defense witnesses.
Hussain’s sentence was delayed for many years under Pakistan’s moratorium on executions, which was recently lifted in response to a terrorist attack on a school which killed over 100 children. Before the moratorium, the country had one of the highest rates of execution in the entire world, outdone only by China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the United States. Now Hussain, as well as over 8,000 death row inmates, face imminent execution, including at least one other child offender.
It is barbaric and backward to put someone to death based upon a coerced confession, particularly a child. Even if the youth is guilty, there are several fundamental differences between children and adults that should be taken into account during sentencing, including a youth’s increased chance at rehabilitation. Sign the petition below to demand that Shafqat Hussain’s execution is cancelled and that he is finally given a fair trial.
Dear President Mamnoon Hussain,
Shafqat Hussain, a man arrested at 14 years old and coerced into confessing to a crime, is set to be executed by Pakistani authorities in direct contravention of Pakistani and international law. Though the government promised an inquiry into his case, officials have made no effort to move the investigation forward.
Putting this man to death without a proper trial would be an affront to the justice system. We, the undersigned, demand that his execution is halted and that he is given the fair trial that he has been waiting for for over 10 years.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mark Mongenet via Creative Commons