HR: Burney demands President for conversion of death sentences into life term

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations former Expert Adviser on Human Rights, Chairman of Ansar Burney Trust International and former Federal Minister for human rights, Ansar Burney has sent a fresh appeal to the President under Article 45 of the Constitution of Pakistan with a request to save thousands of innocent necks from gallows before it could be too late.

Ansar Burney had recently met with President Zardari in this regard. He has requested the President Asif Ali Zardari to convert all death sentences of condemned prisoners in the death cells of Pakistan, as most of them waiting to be hanged are innocent or prisoners of circumstances or unfortunates of faulty justice system prevailing in our country.

He requested the President to announce the conversion of all death sentences into life. He said former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had promised in his speech to the Nation on June 21, 2008 on the issue, but despite the fact that up to 60 to 65% of all condemned prisoners in Pakistan were most likely innocent or victims of a faulty justice system, and so far even of commitment of Prime Minister, government had so far failed to take any positive action in the greater interest of human dignity to save these thousands of innocent lives including women, Burney added.

In his letter he said that many among these condemned prisoners some have already spent more than two to three decades in prison’s death cells (one day in death cell is equal to one year of normal prison) and that prolonged detention in worst and inhuman circumstances on death row is at the very least cruel treatment and worst kind of human rights violations, as Pakistan voted against a United Nation General Assembly resolution for a moratorium on the death penalty. He said up to 8000 including women and children condemned prisoners are in Pakistani jails, majority are either innocent or victims of a faulty justice system.