Pakistan postpones execution of killer convicted as a child

By REUTERS
March 19, 2015 04:40

 
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ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has stayed the execution of a man charged as a child with murder for three days just hours before he was due to hang, media said on Thursday, amid emotional appeals to the government for mercy.

Lawyers for Shafqat Hussain say he was just 14 in 2004, when he was burnt with cigarettes and had fingernails removed until he confessed to the killing of a child. He was due to have been hanged on Thursday.

The human rights group Reprieve said an inquiry would be conducted into his age at the time of conviction and the torture he suffered before "confessing" to the crime, the Dawn newspaper reported.

Fatima Bhutto, the niece of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, had taken up Shafqat Hussain's cause.

"There was no moment of reflection, no introspection, only a knee-jerk call for vengeance," Fatima Bhutto said in the New York Times of the lifting of the moratorium. "In Pakistan, blood will always have blood."

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