Pakistan: ADPAN calls on Pakistan to lead in South Asia and for the government to commit to a moratorium on executions

ADPAN appeals to the Pakistani government to extend the informal moratorium introduced in 2008 and halt all future executions.

More than 8000 prisoners face imminent execution after a presidential order suspending executions by the previous government expired on 30 June 2013.

In late 2008, President Asif Ali Zardari suspended executions but this decision is currently being reviewed by the newly elected government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director Polly Truscott said, “at a time when Pakistan’s justice system is struggling to cope with the law and order situation, it can be all too easy for governments to see the death penalty as a quick fix solution. But the death penalty is not the answer to Pakistan’s justice problems.”

“Resuming executions would do nothing to tackle crime or militancy, but instead just perpetuate a cycle of violence,” she added.

Zohra Yusuf, Chairperson of ADPAN member organisation the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), said, “well-documented deficiencies of the law, administration of justice, police investigation methods, as well as chronic corruption in Pakistan today have not improved since the government first decided to suspend executions in 2008…capital punishment allows for a high probability of miscarriages of justice, …wholly unacceptable in any civilised society, but even more so when the punishment is irreversible.”  Zohra Yusuf went on to say, “…the systematic and generalised application of death penalty has not led to an improvement of the situation of law and order in the country…”

This echoes recent comments made by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon last month, where he urged member states to abolish the death penalty, “We have a duty to prevent innocent people from paying the ultimate price for miscarriages of justice”.

With the exception of the execution of a soldier in November 2012, death sentences have not been carried out in Pakistan since 2008.

ADPAN with members from across the Asia Pacific region including Pakistan work for an end to the death penalty across the region.

ADPAN members : 

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

Prison Fellowship Pakistan

Democratic Commission for Human Development (DCHD)

5th World Congress against the Death Penalty – 12-15 June 2013

Over 1,500 participants met in Madrid  to discuss death penalty developments and abolitionist strategies. The 5th World Congress against the Death Penalty  invited government officials,  civil servants, international experts, NGOs, activists, Nobel Peace Prize laureates, ADPAN members, former death row prisoners and families of people sentenced to death from over 90 countries.

ADPAN meeting World Congress 2013 2

During this 5th World Congress, an ADPAN meeting was held  on 12 June. Attended by the ADPAN coordinator and over 30 members, ADPAN discussed a World Congress in Asia, setting up ADPAN in the region and requested  more work on unfair trials.

On 14 June , Professor Roger Hood, Professor Emeritus of Criminology at the University of Oxford,  opened the Asia Plenary Session introducing five speakers:  Sosormaa Chuluunbaata , Policy Adviser to the President of Mongolia, Yug Chaudhry, lawyer, ADPAN member from India;  Otto Nur Abdullah, former President of the National Commission of Human Rights, ADPAN member,  Indonesia; Maiko Tagusari, lawyer, ADPAN member and Director of Center for Prisoners’ Rights and Parvais Jabbar,  Executive Director, Death Penalty Project and ADPAN member.

In a Workshop on China held on 14 June,  three Chinese lawyers who are ADPAN members,  Teng Biao, Liang Xiajun, Liu Weiguo, described  their experience as  lawyers defending clients in a jurisdiction which is unable to guarantee a fair trial and in the absence of an independent bar association. Former Minister of Justice from France, Robert Badinter opened the Workshop.

ADPAN gained members at the Congress and its work as a cross regional  network was raised as important  to support the challenge facing abolitionists  from the region. Despite recent set backs in Asia-Pacific and other parts of the world,  the Congress showed once again that the abolitionist movement worldwide is gaining momentum.

The Congress sent a powerful  moral and political message for abolition to retentionist countries.

The 5th World Congress, organised by Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort (ECPM) in partnership with the World Coalition against the Death Penalty supported by the governments of France, Norway and Switzerland, and hosted by the government of Spain, closed on Saturday 15 June.

The next 6th World Congress  is likely to be held in a retentionist country.

ADPAN at the World Congress Against the Death Penalty, 12-15 June, Madrid

The 5th World Congress against the death penalty brings together members of international civil society, politicians and legal experts to discuss abolitionist strategies at the national, regional and international levels. 1,500 people, from over 90 countries across the five continents, are expected to attend.

The ADPAN Coordinator and members from the following countries will be attending: Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the UK, France and the Netherlands.

Two plenary sessions, eleven round tables and eight workshops will take place over two days.

Two lawyers who are ADPAN members, Madasamy Ravi from Singapore and Maiko Tagusari, Center for Prisoner’s Rights (CPR), from Japan, will be speaking at the Asia Plenary session on 14 June. Other speakers at the Asia Plenary session include Yug Chaudhry, a lawyer from India; Otto Nur Abdullah, former president of the National Commission of Human Rights in Indonesia and member of the Commission on Human Rights; Roger Hood, professor emeritus of criminology at the University of Oxford, emeritus fellow of All Souls College and the former director of the Centre for criminology at Oxford, UK.

ADPAN will be holding a side meeting open only for ADPAN members who are attending the Congress. It will take place on 12 June from 14:00-15:00 at the Palacio Municipal de Congresos de Madrid.

More news will be posted here following the World Congress, but please follow us on twitter (@ADPANetwork) to keep up to date with developments at the event.