Home Latest News Rights Activists Condemn Execution of Ansar Iqbal

Rights Activists Condemn Execution of Ansar Iqbal

by AFP
Filippo Monteforte—AFP

Filippo Monteforte—AFP

Iqbal’s supporters claim he was under 18 at the time of his crime and should not have been executed.

Rights activists in Pakistan and the European Union condemned the execution of a convicted murderer who campaigners say was a juvenile when the crime was committed.

Ansar Iqbal was accused of the killing after a quarrel when he was a student in 1994. He was executed on Tuesday. But Namra Gilani, a lawyer for the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), said Friday that Iqbal’s family had approached the advocacy group recently. They said Iqbal, their only son, had been born in 1978, and so was under 18 at the time of the crime.

The E.U. delegation to Pakistan issued a statement saying the court had reportedly refused to consider new evidence that proved his age, including an official birth certificate. “This adds to a growing number of cases where executions have been carried out in Pakistan for crimes allegedly carried out by juveniles,” the statement said.

The most high profile case was that of Shafqat Hussain, hanged in August for killing a seven-year-old boy in Karachi in 2004 despite an international outcry after claims he was a juvenile at the time and was tortured into confessing.

Iqbal’s co-accused Ghulam Shabbir was eventually declared a juvenile and his death sentence commuted to 14 years imprisonment.

Pakistan has hanged dozens of convicts since ending a six-year moratorium on executions last December, after Taliban militants massacred more than 150 people at a school. Supporters argue that the death penalty is the only effective way to deal with the scourge of militancy in the country.

But critics say the legal system is unjust, with rampant police torture, poor representation for victims and unfair trials. Punjab prison officials told AFP the matter was a problem for the courts rather than the prisons.

Last month, Pakistan postponed the execution of paraplegic death row convict Abdul Basit, after JPP, which is also handling his case, raised concerns about how the wheelchair-bound man would mount the scaffold.

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