Amnesty praises halt to executions in Pakistan

March 28, 2014 - 7:15:59 am

ISLAMABAD: Amnesty International has welcomed the fact that Pakistan recorded some positive developments in 2013 and did not put anyone to death last year.

At the launch of a report titled “Death Sentences and executions 2013,” Amnesty International said that Iran and Iraq caused a sharp global spike in the number of executions carried out in 2013.

Chiara Sangiorgio, Death Penalty Expert with Amnesty International, said that Pakistan was one of just three countries in the world that executed in 2012 but the suspension on executions imposed by the new government in October was very welcome.

Chiara Sangiorgio added: “But there are still challenges remaining. Pakistan has one of the world’s largest death row populations, and you can still face the death penalty for nonlethal crimes like blasphemy or drug trafficking. As long as the death penalty remains on the books the lives of thousands of prisoners is still at risk.

The threat of executions is especially worrying given the serious fair trial concerns that persist in Pakistan, where people get sentenced to death on the basis of forced “confessions” and in many cases without having had access to legal counsel.

“We’re hoping that next year will see more positive moves from the government, and we urge Pakistan to impose a moratorium on the death penalty immediately with a view to full abolition. The death penalty is not the answer to any law and order problems in the country.” INTERNEWS