Pakistan sets execution date for Mirza Tahir Hussain.
October 16, 2006
Human Rights charity Reprieve has learnt that Mirza Tahir Hussain, the Briton facing execution in Pakistan, has had his execution date set as 1 November, a date that coincides with Prince Charles’ official state visit to Pakistan.
Zachary Katznelson, Reprieve’s Senior Counsel said,
“We are surprised and disappointed that the Pakistan authorities have chosen to execute Mr Hussain during Prince Charles’ visit. It appears undiplomatic to say the least. We sincerely hope they use the Prince’s visit as reconsider this decision.”
Mirza Tahir Hussain was originally scheduled to be executed on 1 June, but has received successive stays. The last stay expired on October 1; however, as it is customary for no executions to take place during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, no new execution date was set until today.
Tahir Hussain is from Leeds and served in the Territorial Army. At the age of 18, he decided to visit family in Pakistan, and hired a taxi to take him to the village of Bhubar, near Rawalpindi. On the way, the taxi driver attempted to sexually assault him at gunpoint. During the ensuing struggle, the gun went off, injuring the taxi driver, who later died. Tahir was subsequently tried and sentenced to death. After several appeals, his conviction was quashed by the High Court.
However, shortly before Tahir was due to be released, the driver’s family intervened and succeeded in having Tahir’s case transferred to Pakistan’s parallel Sharia religious courts. In 1998, the Sharia court by a 2 to 1 vote once again sentenced Tahir to death. The dissenter lambasted the decision as a “miscarriage of justice”.
Notes for Editors:
Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives. Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.
Reprieve’s current casework involves representing 33 prisoners in the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, working on behalf of prisoners facing the death penalty, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’
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