Justice Project Pakistan says convict cannot he executed until court rules on his age at time of conviction.
Pakistani authorities issued a death warrant on Friday for a convicted killer whose supporters claim he was a juvenile at the time of his crime and whose case has attracted attention from rights groups around the world.
Shafqat Hussain was sentenced to death for killing a seven-year-old boy in Karachi in 2004 but has had several stays of execution, most recently last month. His case has drawn international attention as his lawyers and family claim he was only 15 at the time of the killing.
The government ordered an investigation to try to determine his true age. The probe, carried out by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) found Hussain was an adult at the time of his conviction, according to media reports—its results have not been published officially.
“Now the FIA inquiry is over and his age has been determined, we sought the death warrant of Shafqat from the ATC,” a jail official who did not want to be named told AFP. According to the execution order, Hussain is due to be hanged at dawn on May 6.
The Justice Project Pakistan, a human rights law firm fighting Hussain’s case, said it was shocked the warrant had been issued when proceedings about his age were still going on in Islamabad High Court.
Earlier this month the court asked the government to respond in detail to an application by Hussain’s lawyers to set up a judicial commission to determine his age.