Pakistan, on Tuesday, hanged a man who had said ‘he was 15 when he was arrested for a murder he did not commit’.
Ansar Iqbal was hanged in the morning in Sargodha, a central Pakistani city, and his body has been handed over to his family, authorities said.
Iqbal and his friend were arrested 16 years ago for the murder of a neighbour. The victim’s family had alleged that Iqbal was responsible for the murder after the duo had an argument at a cricket match.
Iqbal, pleading innocence, had said the police had framed him by planting two guns at his house.
Pakistani law does not allow the execution of someone arrested as a juvenile. However, in the case of Iqbal, the court did not examine his school records and birth certificate which give his age at 14 and 15 respectively. The court had said the documents were submitted too late.
According to a statement issued by British legal aid group Reprieve, “All the documentary evidence provided to the courts during his trial or appeal indicates that he was a child at the time of the alleged offence; however, the courts have chosen to believe the estimate of police officers that he was in his 20s.”
Pakistan brought back hanging in December as a way to crack down on militancy after Taliban gunmen killed more than 130 students at an army-run school in Peshawar.
According to Amnesty International and other human rights agencies, very few of the 240 people hanged since had any links to militancy. Most, like Iqbal, were convicted of murder.
Many of their families say they were falsely accused and are too poor to get good lawyers.