Pakistani prison officials released a statement confirming the death by hanging of a Christian man Aftab Bahadur on Wednesday (10th June 2015).
Despite insistence by lawyers of his innocence and attempts to bring a reprieve by Catholic Bishop of Karachi Joseph Coutts and Bishop of Rochester, Salvatore Ronald Montano, the death sentence was allowed to continue.
Mr Bahadur was only 15 years old at the time of the murder and had spent 23 years in jail, before he was hanged at Kot Lakhput Jail in Lahore. He claimed that he had been tortured to confess to the killings of Sabiha Bari and her two sons in 1992.
The legal team supporting Aftab Bahadur and his family were putting together evidence, which included a retraction statement from the key witness in the case, Ghulam Mustafa, who explained how he had been tortured into implicating Aftab Bahadur. Mr Mustafa even went as far as stating that Aftab Bahadur was not even at the scene of the crime at the time of the incident. Despite the legal team stating they only needed a few days to put together the evidence needed to exonerate Mr Bahadu,r the courts refused the appeal and ratified the hanging.
On Thursday the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement condemning the fact that Pakistan has executed over 150 people in just six months.
“Pakistan has gone from zero to 154 executions in just six months, making it the third most prolific executioner in the world,” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said in the statement.
Wilson Chowdhry Chairmand of the BPCA, said:
“It is believed that 66% of Pakistan’s prisoners are innocent. Based on this fact alone justification for a death penalty is on a low footing. State execution of Mr Bahadur, despite retraction statements from a key witness and concerns about the international and state based legality due to arrest of a minor, create a poor image of Pakistan. The rapidity and scale of use of the death penalty in recent months is extremely worrying.”
Relatives of Aftab Bahadur grieve as his body is transported from the prison
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