Aftab Bahadur was hanged in Pakistan, despite evidence of his innocence

Image of Aftab Bahadur as a child

Aftab Bahadur was hanged in Lahore, Pakistan, at 4.30am on Wednesday 10th June, despite evidence of his innocence. He was sentenced to death when he was a child – in violation of both international and Pakistani law.

Aftab was just a child when he was sentenced to death. He was convicted of murder based on evidence extracted by torture – the two eyewitnesses both recanted their statements against him, explaining that they had been given under torture.

Aftab BahadurAftab spent 23 years in a death cell in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail, devoting much of his time in prison to poetry and art.

Reprieve worked up until the last minute to save Aftab’s life, but our lawyers were denied access to evidence of his innocence, and the Lahore High Court dismissed our request for a stay of execution.

This case caused international outrage, and people from around the world sent over 18,000 messages in support of Aftab, but Pakistan’s President refused to grant mercy.

It is a truly shameful day for Pakistan’s justice system.  Aftab was subjected to almost every injustice conceivable. Just 15 years old when he was arrested, tortured and sentenced to death, he spent 23 years languishing on death row for a crime he didn’t commit before being executed in the early hours of this morning. To the last, Pakistan refused even to grant his lawyers the few days needed to present evidence which would have proved his innocence.  This is a travesty of justice, and tragedy for all those who knew Aftab.”
Maya Foa, Director of the death penalty team

Aftab’s execution shows why Reprieve’s work is so vital. Pakistan has executed 150 people since December 2014 – like Aftab, many have been tortured and many sentenced to death as children.

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