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Press release

Muslim Parliament expresses concern over Briton on death row in Pakistan

The Muslim Parliament expresses their deep concern over an innocent British Muslim’s imminent execution on June 1st 2006. Mirza Tahir Hussain who will be 36 years old on the day of the execution has been on death row and detained for 18 years for a crime he did not commit.

In December 1988 Mirza Tahir Hussain was only 18 years old and had travelled to Pakistan to merely visit family. On his journey towards Rawalpindi in the evening, where he took a taxi to his village Bhubar, Chakwal district, the driver stopped the taxi and attempted to physically and sexually assault Mirza. The driver took out a pistol and during the altercation that was provoked by the taxi driver the pistol went off and hit the driver who ultimately died of his wounds. Mirza, a former TA soldier from Headingley, used his honesty and integrity and drove the taxi to the nearest police station and handed in the pistol. His sincerity unfortunately resulted in his arrest, trial and conviction for murder.

Regardless of the fact that on appeal the Lahore High Court, in 1992 dismissed the decision of the death penalty due to serious discrepancies in the Prosecutions case and on re-trial a sentence of life imprisonment was decided in 1994 and further on in 1996 Mirza Tahir Hussain was acquitted of all offences and charges against him. The Federal Shariat Court still re-tried the case and ultimately decided to reverse the decision of the High Court on grounds that one of the alleged offences, namely highway robbery after dusk, fell within their jurisdiction. Although it was very clear that there had been no evidence of highway robbery as Mirza had hired the taxi with the intention of visiting relatives, the Shariat Court decided to ignore the lack of evidence and grounds of prosecution and sentenced him to death.

It is evident from this that the grounds of prosecution are not only an immense miscarriage of justice but the Shariat Court in Pakistan clearly violates the principle that The Constitution of Pakistan clearly states of ‘double jeopardy’ as Mirza Tahir Hussain had previously been tried for the offence and ultimately acquitted.

This trial is an example of the inhumane atrocities placed upon innocent people and clearly highlights the inadequate levels of International Legal principles and the practices within the Human Rights Conventions. How can any human being have a fair trial in countries like Pakistan when two very different Laws are in practice and both contradict each-other?

There is no doubt that spending 18 years of your life in prison in innocence is a death sentence in its self. It is common knowledge that the death penalty has irreversible consequences, especially if someone is as innocent as Mirza. He has not received a fair trial due to a number of contradictory statements and decisions of several Courts. Even after numerous attempts to receive support from the Pakistani Government and for them to revoke such an absurd Legal decision, this execution is still to go ahead.

Every human being is entitled to live a life but Mirza Tahir Hussain has been robbed of his life, his physical well being and his mental state of mind for a crime that he did not even commit. He has the right under any Laws to be protected and released and returned to his home in Britain. No one should die before they have even lived.

For more information, please contact:
Asma Zaman, Campaign coordinator – 020 8563 1995/ 07877 588396

10 May 2006




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