Pakistan hangs man who was 15 when arrested | News | DW | 29.09.2015
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Pakistan hangs man who was 15 when arrested

Pakistan has hanged a man who was reportedly a juvenile at the time he allegedly committed murder. The execution is in violation of international and Pakistani law.

Ansar Iqbal, who claimed he was only 15-years-old when he allegedly committed a murder he says he did not commit, was executed Tuesday morning.

Iqbal had said policed framed him and a friend in the murder of his neighbor 16 years ago.

Pakistani and international law prohibits the execution of someone who committed a crime as a minor, but the court reviewing his case failed to examine his school records or birth certificate.

Pakistani authorities only issued Iqbal a birth certificate this year, showing he was 15 at the time of the murder. Saying the submission of the birth certificate was too late, the court reportedly relied on statements of police officers who guessed his age at 22-23.

Some 73 percent of Pakistanis are not registered at birth, according to the British legal aid group Reprieve, which sought to stop the execution.

"This means that it is almost impossible to prove the age of most of the 8,000 prisoners on Pakistan's death row," Reprieve said in a petition urging a stay of execution. "Many of them may have been arrested and sentenced to death as children, but there is often no way for them to prove it."

Pakistan has executed 239 people, including three people convicted as juveniles, since a moratorium on executions was lifted following last December's Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar that killed nearly 150 people. However, many of these executions have been for murder as opposed to terrorism.

Human rights groups have broadly protested the resumption of executions, which disproportionately target the underprivileged.

The country's justice system is marked by systemic corruption, and according to the UN is lacking in proper systems for investigation, crime scene management and forensics.

cw/msh (AP, Reuters)

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