Pakistan hangs man allegedly tortured into confessing as a minor

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Aug. 4, 2015 at 7:28 AM
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KARACHI, Pakistan, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Despite international criticism, Pakistan on Tuesday hanged Shafqat Hussain, a man who was apparently tortured into confessing to murder when he was underage.

Hussain was sentenced to death for kidnapping and involuntary manslaughter of a 7-year-old child in 2004, but his lawyers said he was 14 at the time and was tortured into giving his confession.

Pakistani officials said there was no proof Hussain was a minor when he was convicted. The country's courts previously dismissed petitions attempting to verify Hussain's age.

Hussain was hanged shortly before dawn in the Karachi Central Jail, despite appeals from his lawyers and condemnation from international human rights groups. His execution was postponed four times this year due to legal challenges.

He was convicted under Pakistan's Anti-Terrorism Act, despite no known links to any terrorist groups, according to Amnesty International.

"This is another deeply sad day for Pakistan. A man whose age remains disputed and whose conviction was built around torture has now paid with his life," David Griffiths, Amnesty International's South Asia Research Director, said in a statement.

"The government has shown a callous indifference to not just human life, but also to international law and standards. It has even ignored recommendations by one of its own bodies, the Sindh Human Rights Commission, to request the Supreme Court to consider the evidence relating to his juvenility and 'confession' extracted through torture," Griffiths added.

Pakistan lifted a moratorium on executions after the Peshawar school massacre in December, where 140 people, mostly children, were killed in a Taliban attack.

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