08/04/2015, 00.00
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Another hanging in Pakistan: almost 200 executions so far in 2015

Appeals useless for Shafqat Hussain, convicted of murder when he was 14. According to his lawyers, his confession was obtained by torture. After lifting its moratorium on the death penalty, Pakistan is set to have the highest rate of executions worldwide

Karachi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At dawn this morning, Pakistan executed Shafqat Hussain, convicted of killing a child in 2004. According to his lawyers, he was 14 when the incident happened and his confession was extorted through torture. However authorities maintain there is no evidence to support this thesis. Shortly before midnight, Hussain met his family one last time. Then he was hanged in a prison in Karachi. With his death, executions carried out by Islamabad, almost all in 2015 ,rises to almost 200.

Pakistani Prime Minister of Nawaz Sharif lifted the moratorium on the death penalty last year, a day after the Taliban attack on the military school in Peshawar, in which 134 students and 19 adults were killed.

The country has the highest number of inmates on death row worldwide, with over 8 thousand people waiting to be executed. With the lifting of the moratorium, the nation is set to also have the highest rate of executions in the world. The number so far registered is over 193.

Although figures for 2015 are not available, in 2014 the countries with the highest number of executions carried out were: Iran, 289; Saudi Arabia, 90; Iraq, 61; USA, 35; Sudan 23. China and North Korea refuse to disclose their cases.

Hussain’s execution was postponed four times this year, thanks to the intervention of international human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Reprieve. However, Islamabad for the accused was 23 years old when he committed the act, and dismissed all appeals made to verify his age. According to Reprieve, "the government's decision to go ahead with the executions, despite calls to stop them from around the world, was a show of political power, rather than state justice."

The case of Shafqat Hussain recalls that of Aftab Bahadur Masih, who was executed on June 10 in Karachi. The man, a Catholic, was sentenced to death for multiple murder when he was 15 and remained on death row for 22 years. He always maintained his innocence.

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