Shafqat Hussain

Shafqat was under 18 when he was sentenced to death. He was brutally tortured for 9 days, and eventually made a false confession to make the abuse stop. He was executed on Tuesday 4th August, 2015.

The Pakistani authorities tried to execute Shafqat in January 2015, but thousands of people took action and succeeded in stopping it when he was just hours from being led to the gallows. In June 2015, his execution was stayed again. In July 2015, he was issued with a new execution warrant, and was hanged in the early hours of Tuesday 4th August, 2015.

The Pakistani authorities were determined to kill Shafqat. They covered up evidence that he was a child when he was sentenced to death, and ignored the brutal torture that resulted in his false confession. The police told Shafqat that they would not stop hurting him until he confessed. He was blindfolded, kept in solitary confinement, beaten, electrocuted and burned with cigarette butts. He was just 14 years old at the time. He said he would have sworn “that a deer was an elephant” by the time his ordeal was over. Shafqat’s trial was a farce – his lawyer was so hopeless that he didn’t even work out that Shafqat was a child, and therefore could not be executed. In total, Shafqat spent 11 years on death row.

“It is deeply disturbing that, in the face of concern from both the international community and the Pakistani courts, the authorities in Pakistan are sending ever more prisoners to the hangman’s noose. Shafqat’s execution speaks to all that is wrong with Pakistan’s race to the gallows. He faced a catalogue of injustice, sentenced to death while still a child after being tortured by the police until he produced a so-called “confession”. The government’s decision to push ahead with the execution despite calls to halt it from across Pakistan and around the world seems to have been more a show of political power than anything to do with justice. It is hard to see how anyone can now believe their claims that their enthusiastic resumption of hangings is anything to do with the safety and security of the country.”

Maya Foa, Director of Reprieve’s death penalty team

The Pakistani authorities tried to execute Shaqat in January 2015, again in March, and once more in June – but each time, the hanging was called off following our campaign to save his life. His death in August in 2015 is a devastating blow, and a travesty of justice.

More than 36,000 people from all across the globe joined our final efforts to save Shafqat’s life. They sent letters to the Pakistani government and President Mamnoon Hussain, pleading that Shafqat be spared. It was an extraordinary demonstration of support and solidarity.

Shafqat’s execution shows why Reprieve’s work is so vital. Pakistan has executed more than 200 people since December 2014 – like Shafqat, many were tortured by police, and many were sentenced to death as children.

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