Pakistan : illegal execution of a juvenile offender

11/06/2015
Communiqué

FIDH and HRCP strongly condemn the latest in a wave of executions taking place in Pakistan : the illegal hanging of Aftab Bahadur in Lahore on 10 June for a murder he allegedly committed in 1992, when he was only 15 years old.

International law clearly prohibits the death penalty for juvenile offenders,” said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. The execution of Aftab Bahadur is therefore an egregious violation of international law. Pakistan must immediately stop all executions, particularly against juvenile offenders.”

Aftab Bahadur is the 154th person to be executed in Pakistan since the country lifted its seven-year moratorium on the death penalty in late 2014. This latest execution took place just one day before the first Asian Regional Congress on the Death Penalty taking place in Kuala Lumpur, where representatives from FIDH and its member organizations in Asia will be gathering to discuss ways to address Asia’s troubling record regarding the death penalty.

Considering the international trend towards the abolition of the death penalty is growing, with more than 70% of countries in the world having abolished capital punishment, Pakistan’s resumption of executions is an even more shameful stain on its human rights record, stated Zohra Yusuf, FIDH Vice-President and HRCP Chairperson.

Pakistan has the highest number of individuals on death row in the world with over 8000 people condemned to death, many of them as a result of unfair trials. Aftab Bahadur’s case was also marred by accusations of torture : both key witnesses central to Bahadur’s conviction later retracted their testimonies claiming they had been extracted under torture.

FIDH and HRCP, both members of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP), reiterate their firm opposition to the death penalty for all crimes and in all circumstances, as it is an inhumane treatment and a violation of the inalienable right to life. We call on the Pakistani authorities to immediately halt all executions and reinstate the moratorium on the death penalty for all crimes. In particular, we urgently call on the authorities to conduct thorough and transparent reviews of all cases of juvenile offenders on death row with a view to repeal their death sentences in accordance with international law.

Our organizations also welcome the statement by the European Union condemning this and other executions in Pakistan, and we call on the international community, including the United Nations, the European Union, and all those participating in the Asian Regional Congress on the Death Penalty, to use all appropriate means to ensure that Pakistan respects international law and reinstitutes the moratorium on the death penalty.

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