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Pakistan’s Grim Executions Tally

by Newsweek Pakistan
Yoav Lemmer—AFP

Yoav Lemmer—AFP

Human rights organization Reprieve says Islamabad has executed 299 people since ending its moratorium in December.

Islamabad has hanged 299 people since ending its moratorium on the death penalty in December and could pass 300 executions any day, claims research by human rights organizations Reprieve and Justice Project Pakistan.

In a press release, Reprieve claims that, on average, there has been nearly one (0.93) execution every day since the moratorium was lifted. “The total for 2015 so far is 292, with the deadliest month being October, when 47 people were hanged,” it added.

At the current rate, according to Reprieve, the projected total executions for 2015 would be 347. This would be the highest tally on record, with Pakistan’s previous high of 135 in 2007 being less than half of this year’s record.

“This grisly milestone should cause Pakistan’s government to stop and think,” said Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve. “The 299 people so far executed have included people sentenced to death as children, and victims of police torture. Yet independent studies show that very few of them have been alleged terrorists, despite the government’s claim,” she added.

“This futile hanging spree has simply piled injustice on top of injustice, while leaving the people of Pakistan no safer than they were before.”

Executions in Pakistan resumed after a gap of six years after the Taliban killed 154 people, mostly children, at the Army Public School in Peshawar. Hangings initially resumed only for terror convicts, but in March they were extended to all capital offences. A Reuters investigation published in July found that, of 180 people hanged since December, “fewer than one in six were linked to militancy.”

The European Union, the United Nations and human rights campaigners have urged Pakistan to reinstate the moratorium, with Amnesty International estimating that there are over 8,000 prisoners on death row, most of whom have exhausted their appeals.

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