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Four Prisoners Executed in Punjab

by AFP
Yoav Lemmer—AFP

Yoav Lemmer—AFP

Islamabad has hanged 65 people since ending its moratorium on the death penalty in December.

Pakistan on Tuesday hanged four prisoners condemned for murder and kidnapping, officials said, bringing the total number executed since the death penalty was resumed in December to 65.

The four prisoners went to the gallows in Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Mianwali and Attock across Punjab province. “The gallows were set up a few days before the executions,” said a prison official at the jail.

The execution at Sargodha central jail was the first since its establishment in 1910. The convict, Muhammad Riaz was executed for murder during an attempted robbery. In Attock jail, prisoner Akram-ul-Haq was convicted for kidnapping a three-year-old girl and charged under anti-terrorism laws.

The remaining two convicts were hanged for murder.

A moratorium on the death penalty had been in force since 2008, but executions were restarted in December after Taliban militants gunned down 154 people, most of them children, at a school in Peshawar. It was initially lifted only for those convicted of terrorism offences, but was extended to cover all capital offences in March.

The European Union, the United Nations and human rights campaigners have all urged Pakistan to reinstate the moratorium. Critics say Pakistan’s criminal justice system is unreliable, marred by police torture, poor legal representation for victims and unfair trials.

Human rights group Amnesty International estimates that Pakistan has more than 8,000 prisoners on death row, most of whom have exhausted the appeals process.

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