UPDATE: Jan 01, 2014: Funds urgently needed for Shafqat’s defence. Please click this link for details and see what you or your friends can do. Detailed BBC report Justice at risk as Pakistan rushes convicts to the gallows
This is Shafqat Hussain. A poor boy who was arrested for kidnapping and murder when he was 14 years old. He confessed to the crime after nine days of police torture (they pulled out three fingernails, the cigarette burn marks are still visible on his body). He has been in Karachi jail for over 10 years now and is on the list of ‘terrorists’ to be hung (his date is set for Tues, Dec 23rd). He comes from a very poor family from Muzaffarabad, had a learning disability, had dropped out of school at grade 4, and run away to Karachi where this happened. He did not get proper defense; the issue of his age wasn’t brought up; an Anti Terrorist Court convicted him of murder and sentenced him to death. Please read and sign this petition to #saveShafqat via Justice Project Pakistan. JPP lead counsel Sarah Belal came across his case in 2009 and has taken it up along with Reprieve and Amnesty International.
Update: Sindh High Court demands to know why Shafqat is on the terrorists’ list.
Read Sarah Belal’s article ‘Who are we hanging?‘ Sharing it on facebook, my friend Zarminae Ansari commented: “This is what I was afraid of all along. They are only to appease the public outrage and shut them up for a while. That the executions wont be of the terrorists, but of others on death row. AND its easy to be on death row in Pakistan, unless you are a terrorist- then you get out on bail.”
Here’s a photo of Shafqat’s mother and brother with JPP’s investigator Yasir Shahbaz (centre) in Muzaffarabad. She must be in her 50s; looks about 80. His father was a farmer, is now paralysed and has gone blind. The brother is the only bread-earner in the family.