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Pakistan: Death penalty by hanging challenged in high court

A prisoner on death row has challenged the implementation of death penalty by hanging in the Peshawar High Court seeking the introduction of a less painful mode of execution in accordance with modern scientific developments.

Kept at the Haripur Central Prison, Jan Bahadur filed the petition requesting the high court to declare the mode of hanging to death un-Islamic and unconstitutional insisting it is painful and against human values.

He said Section 368 of the Code of Criminal Procedure stated, "When any person is sentenced to death, the sentence shall direct that he be hanged by the neck till he is dead."

The petitioner requested the court to issue orders for ending the execution of death row prisoners by hanging declaring it cruel, painful, un-Islamic and inhuman.

He added that the court should issue directives for the adoption of the mode of execution, which was not painful.

Jan Bahadur, whose lawyer is Mohammad Khursheed Khan, said he was sentenced to death by an additional district and sessions judge on Apr 7, 2000, in Takht Bhai in connection with a 1993 murder case.

He added that the judgment was upheld by the high court in 2002 and by the Supreme Court afterwards.

The petitioner said his review petition and clemency petition were also rejected.

The respondents in the petition are the provincial home secretary, superintendent of Haripur Central Prison, provincial law secretary, secretary to the Council of Islamic Ideology and Mardan district and sessions judge.

The petitioner said there were 9 modes of carrying out death penalties, including death by through firing squad, gas chamber and electric chair, by hanging, shooting in the head, lethal injection, beheading, stoning and pushing from unspecified height.

The petitioner claimed that in the past, in all the states of USA the mode of execution was through hanging.

He added that the use of electric chair was devised, which was considered less painful.

The petitioner however said in 1921, the State of Nevada introduced gas chamber for carrying out death penalty.

He said in over 30 US states, the mode of execution is now through lethal injection, which was considered more humane and less painful.

The petitioner said that through that mode 3 injections are administered to a death row prisoner, the 1st injection turned a prisoner unconscious, the 2nd made his body paralysed and the 3rd stopped his heart from functioning.

He claimed that prisoners were executed through firing squad in 28 countries, whereas prisoners were killed by shooting in their heads in 22 countries.

The petitioner claimed that some western researchers had declared death by hanging atrocious for different reasons.

He added that the colonial rulers had introduced death by hanging through the CrPC in 1898 and after the creation of Pakistan, the same mode was adopted.

Source: dawn.com, July 9, 2017

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