03/11/2015, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Pakistan reintroduces the death penalty "for all crimes"

Seven year moratorium over-turned. Recently, the government had resumed executions for crimes related to terrorism. Interior Ministry gives provincial governments indications to "proceed" with executions. Human rights activists: shameful race to the scaffold that does not solve the problems of security and public order.

Islamabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Pakistani government has over-turned the moratorium on the death penalty in all cases in which the death sentence was imposed, resuming executions for crimes related to terrorism.

Islamabad's decision to resume executions came in the aftermath of the Taliban attack on the military school in Peshawar, a brutal episode that caused the death of nearly 150 students and teachers.

The Interior Ministry  has given indication provincial governments indications to "proceed with the hanging" of inmates whose trials have reached conclusion, rejecting all requests for appeal or clemency.

Today there are at least 8 thousand prisoners awaiting judgment on death row in the South Asian nation  after a moratorium lasted at least seven years. Of these about one thousand have seen their request for clemency rejected by the President, the last step before the execution of their sentence.

Since last December, when executions resumed, Pakistan has hanged 24 people, three of which had not been convicted of terrorism.

Activists and human rights organizations speak of a "shameful race to the gallows" initiated by Islamabad, which "will not solve the problems of security and public order" that plague long Pakistan.

Among the thousands of people held on death row there are several women and, among these, even the Christian mother Asia Bibi, sentenced to death for blasphemy, whose story has raised outrage and international mobilization.

Last year, the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon appealed to the Pakistani government to reintroduce the moratorium on the death penalty, which is also provided for the crimes of adultery, apostasy and blasphemy according to the dictates of sharia, Islamic law . Activist groups point the finger at the Pakistani judicial system, full of sham trials, police torture to extract confessions and an absence of the right of defense.

 

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