Wrongfully sentenced to death at 14, Shafqat Hussain’s hanging must be stopped.
Without warning, Pakistani authorities have rescheduled Shafqat Hussain’s hanging for Thursday, March 19. They broke their promise to investigate the many miscarriages of justice in his case, and now Shafqat’s life is in imminent danger once again.
Shafqat was a 14-year-old when he was illegally sentenced to death. He was brutally tortured and made a false confession to make the abuse stop. They tried to execute him in January, but thousands of us took action together and succeeded in stopping it. Shafqat needs our help now more than ever. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has the power to stop this execution. If he doesn’t, Shafqat will be hanged.
We’re working with Shafqat’s lawyers at the Justice Project Pakistan to take legal action, but if we are to save his life, we all need to add our voice of opposition. In January, the odds were against us, but 7,000 people from around the world joined our campaign and we succeeded in stopping the execution. But Pakistan broke its promise to investigate the miscarriage of justice in Shafqat’s case, and he has once again been slated for hanging.
Pakistani authorities seem to believe that what has happened in Shafqat’s case is good enough. That we should ignore the fact that Shafqat was a child when sentenced to death, and that he only confessed to make the torture stop. That there’s no need to investigate what happened, and we should all stop complaining. I think anyone who cares for justice will differ.
Shafqat was wrongfully convicted of murder and kidnapping in 2004. The only evidence against him was a forced confession made after nine days of severe torture. He was blindfolded, kept in solitary confinement, beaten, electrocuted and burned with cigarette butts. He was just 14 at the time. We know that our opposition can have a huge impact, but we need to act quickly. Please sign our letter to the Pakistani authorities and help save Shafqat.
Smith is the founder of and a director at Reprieve.