Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Pakistan: Hanging delayed, but how long?

A UK citizen awaiting execution in Pakistan has received a repreive, but the country's President will not intervene to save him.

Mirza Tahir Hussain, 36, was convicted of murder in a Sharia court in 1998 and sentenced to death following a trial Amnesty International has denounced as unfair.

A stay of execution expired on 1 October, but the Associated Press quoted a Pakistani prison official as saying the execution had been delayed because of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
"We wrote today to the trial court judge to set a new date which will be after Eid," he was quoted as saying, referring to the Islamic holiday at the end of Ramadan.

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf said on Sunday that he could not overrule the court's judgement in the case.

Gen Musharraf said on the ITV television program The Sunday Edition: "I am not a dictator ... I cannot violate a court judgment, whether you like the court or not."

A correspondent writing in UK newspaper The Independent said: "This suggests he is ignorant of his country's constitution, article 45 of which states: "The President shall have power to grant pardon, reprieve and respite, and to remit, suspend or commute any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or other authority"."

Related stories:
UK pressure over Pakistan hanging -- 1 October 2006

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