Christoph Strässer, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, on the execution of Shafqat Hussain in Pakistan

04.08.2015 - Press release

Christoph Strässer, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued the following statement today (4 August) on the imposition of the death penalty in Pakistan:

I was deeply shocked to learn of the execution of Shafqat Hussain in Karachi this morning. There is evidence that Shafqat Hussain was still a minor when he was convicted of murder in 2004. The execution of someone who was a minor at the time the offence was committed would be a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, both of which Pakistan pledged to uphold. I call on the Pakistan Government and judiciary to comply with the minimum standards which they freely undertook to abide by. These include the right to a fair trial. In the case of Shafqat Hussain, there was evidence that his confession was extracted by torture. This allegation of torture could not be comprehensively disproved. The principle here must be: if there is no proof beyond reasonable doubt then the court should decide in favour of the accused, especially when the death penalty could be imposed.

I remain deeply concerned about the decision made by the Pakistan Government in December 2014 to lift the moratorium on the use of the death penalty. Since then more than 190 people have been executed in Pakistan. The German Government is categorically opposed to the death penalty, for it is an inhumane form of punishment. It is not an effective deterrent. I expressed this view during my visit to Pakistan in March.

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