Friday, August 27, 2010

PAKISTAN: Government urged to commute all death sentences and abolish the death penalty

ALRC-CWS-, Aug 26, 2010

A written statement submitted by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a non-governmental organisation with general consultative status

The Asian Legal Resource Centre welcomes the discussion by the Human Rights Council during its 15th session concerning the report of the Secretary General on the question of the death penalty. In light of this discussion, the ALRC is hereby submitting information pertaining to the death penalty in Pakistan.

The government of Pakistan has failed to abolish the death penalty in spite of the pledge it made in 2008 to commute death sentences to life imprisonment. According to estimates, there are around 7400 prisoners on death row1, the largest number in any country in the world. This number constitutes around one third of the death row prisoners in the world. It must be noted that the government has not carried out judicial executions since September 2008, which are typically carried out by hanging in Pakistan, but condemned prisoners remain seriously concerned for their future, as do their family members, while the death penalty remains in place. Many among them have already spent more than 10 years in prison. The ALRC recalls that prolonged detention on death row is at the very least cruel and inhuman treatment and therefore constitutes a violation of these persons’ rights in of itself.

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