Pakistan executes man who was 15 when sentenced to death

Pakistan hanged death row inmate Aftab Bahadur who was minor at the time he was charged with capital punishment

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Pakistan executed a man on Wednesday who was sentenced to death when he was 15-years-old for allegedly killing three people in 1992. The execution was carried out despite efforts from human right groups to halt execution.

Human rights groups said that Aftab Bahadur was under 18 when he committed the crime, claiming also that he was tortured to confess the murder before being hanged.

“Aftab Bahadur was hanged at District Jail Lahore on Wednesday at 4.30 am,” a jail official told the Pakistani media.

“Before the hanging, he was crying and saying he was innocent.” they added.

When he was handed a capital punishment sentence, the death penalty could not be given for criminals older than 15 years old but the minimum age raised was raised to 18 with a law amendment in 2000.  

"This is a truly shameful day for Pakistan's justice system. Aftab was subjected to almost every injustice conceivable," said Maya Foa, director of the international human rights group Reprieve.

"To the last, Pakistan refused even to grant his lawyers the few days needed to present evidence which would have proved his innocence. This is a travesty of justice, and tragedy for all those who knew Aftab," she added.

Aftab Bahadur wrote a letter while imprisoned in which he emphasized his is innocence.   

“But I do not know whether that will make any difference,” he wrote in his letter which was published a day before the execution.

“I have not given up hope, though the night is very dark … It would perhaps have been better not to have to think of what the police did to try to get me to confess falsely to this crime,” he added.

The execution of Aftab Batur came after the hanging of Shafqat Hussain which was delayed at the last moment.

According to his lawyer he charged in 2004, when he was a minor, for the allegations of kidnapping and killing a child.

The lawyer claims that he was tortured with cigarettes butts and had his fingernails removed until he confessed to killing the child.

Authorities insist that he was 24-years-old when the court gave him capital punishment.   

The Pakistani government announced that it would delay the death sentences in December after a deadly attack on a school in Peshawar in which at least 150 students and teachers were killed by the Taliban.

TRTWorld and agencies