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Pakistan Executes 19 in Two Days

by AFP
Yoav Lemmer—AFP

Yoav Lemmer—AFP

Total prisoners hanged since death penalty moratorium was lifted in December are nearly 100.

Pakistan has hanged 19 prisoners in the past two days, officials said Wednesday, bringing the total number put to death since executions resumed in December to nearly 100.

A total of 15 went to the gallows on Tuesday, the most in a single day since executions restarted in the wake of a Taliban massacre at a school, and a further four on Thursday, officials said.

One execution took place in Balochistan province and the rest in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province.

Punjab prisons chief Farooq Nazir said he did not have details of individual cases and charges, but most of the 18 executed in the province had been convicted of murder and had been on death row for between eight and 10 years.

In Balochistan, a convict was hanged at Mach prison on Tuesday for the 2004 murder of a man during a robbery at a house, said prison officials.

The Justice Project Pakistan, a human rights law firm, said their latest count of executions so far was 99. A tally by AFP puts the total at 95.

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 the restive northwest. The moratorium was initially lifted only for those convicted of terrorism offences, but in March was extended to cover all capital offences.

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 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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