FEATURED POST

Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

Image
The fire moved quickly through the house, a one-story wood-frame structure in a working-class neighborhood of Corsicana, in northeast Texas. Flames spread along the walls, bursting through doorways, blistering paint and tiles and furniture. Smoke pressed against the ceiling, then banked downward, seeping into each room and through crevices in the windows, staining the morning sky.
Buffie Barbee, who was eleven years old and lived two houses down, was playing in her back yard when she smelled the smoke. She ran inside and told her mother, Diane, and they hurried up the street; that’s when they saw the smoldering house and Cameron Todd Willingham standing on the front porch, wearing only a pair of jeans, his chest blackened with soot, his hair and eyelids singed. He was screaming, “My babies are burning up!” His children—Karmon and Kameron, who were one-year-old twin girls, and two-year-old Amber—were trapped inside.
Willingham told the Barbees to call the Fire Department, and while Dia…

Pakistan executions threaten trade status, warn EU lawmakers

Click here to sign Reprieve's online clemency petition
European Union politicians have warned that Pakistan’s preferential trade status with the EU could be under threat from an executions drive in the country that has seen over 400 people hanged since 2014. EU trade delegates are due to visit the country on Monday (31st) – two days before the scheduled hanging of a severely mentally ill prisoner.

Officials from the EU who oversee Pakistan’s special ‘GSP plus’ trade status with Europe will visit Pakistan from Monday next week to assess whether the government has honoured its obligations under the scheme, which including abiding by certain human rights standards. The visit takes place in the week that Imdad Ali – a prisoner who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia – is to face execution, on Wednesday (2nd). Government psychiatrists have confirmed Mr Ali’s illness, concluding that he is “insane.” The execution of mentally ill people is prohibited under Pakistani and international law.

In a letter sent earlier this month to Pakistan’s President, Mamnoon Hussain, members of the European Parliament from 10 countries – including the UK, Germany, Spain, and Italy – wrote that they are “deeply troubled that Pakistan became one of the world’s top-5 executioners in 2015”. Their letter urged Pakistan to reconsider its use of the death penalty, adding: “Given Pakistan's recent assurances regarding effective implementation of its obligations under 27 international conventions, we trust you will share our concerns regarding the imposition of the death penalty... As you know, effective implementation of these conventions is a requirement under the GSP+ scheme.”

Pakistan has hanged an estimated 418 people since a moratorium on executions was lifted in December 2014, and those executed have included vulnerable people such as juveniles, people who were tortured into signing fake ‘confessions’, and the mentally ill. Figures collated by human rights organization Reprieve and the Justice Project Pakistan show that 94% of prisoners who were recently executed had no links to terrorism – despite a repeated claim by the Pakistani authorities that executions are designed to combat militancy.

In their letter, the MEPs criticise Pakistan’s government for its use of “the ‘fight against terrorism’ to defend the use of the death penalty”, saying that Pakistani officials had repeated these claims during a public hearing on Pakistan’s trade status at European Parliament’s trade committee in February this year.

Commenting, Maya Foa, a director at Reprieve, said: “It’s shocking that the Pakistani government is planning to execute a severely mentally ill man, even while European trade officials are visiting the country to monitor Pakistan’s commitment to human rights. Imdad Ali is so seriously ill that he doesn’t even understand that he faces the hangman’s noose. EU officials visiting Pakistan next week must make very clear that Imdad’s execution would be a grave breach of Pakistan’s international obligations – they must urge the President to grant mercy to Imdad, before it’s too late.”

  • The MEPs letter to Pakistan's President is available on request.
  • Government psychiatrist Dr Tahir Feroze has told Reuters: "I have been treating this man for the last eight years, and there is absolutely no room for doubt in this that he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia."
  • More information about Imdad Ali is available on the Reprieve website.

Source: Reprieve, October 29, 2016. Reprieve is an international human rights organization.

⚑ | Report an error, an omission; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; send a submission; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Nevada law says chief medical officer must advise on executions despite ethical clash

Russian who joined ISIS in Iraq sentenced to hanging

20 Minutes to Death: Record of the Last Execution in France

Ohio executes Gary Otte

Iran: Prisoners Hanged in Public While Crowd Watched

Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

Poorly executed - Indiana inmate challenges state's lethal cocktail change

Arkansas death-row inmate tries to drop appeal blocking execution; request denied

Nevada inmate asks how he should mentally prepare for execution

"I cannot execute convicted murderers," Tanzania's president declares