Pakistan: Public hangings are acts of unconscionable cruelty

Responding to the adoption of a resolution in Pakistan’s lower house of Parliament calling for public hangings of people convicted of the sexual abuse and murder of children, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director, Omar Waraich, said:

“The sexual abuse and murder of children are among the most horrific crimes, but the death penalty is not a solution. Public hangings are acts of unconscionable cruelty and have no place in a rights-respecting society.

“The authorities must focus their energies on giving children in Pakistan the protection they desperately need through strong safeguarding policies and procedures before abuse happens, enforcing laws against sexual abuse, and holding the perpetrators of abuse against them to account through fair trials without recourse to the death penalty.

“Executions, whether public or private, do not deliver justice. They are acts of vengeance and there is no evidence that they serve as a uniquely effective deterrent. If human life holds the highest value, then taking it away is the lowest act. The state should not perpetuate the cycle of violence by putting people to death.”

Background

Ali Muhammad Khan, the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, tabled a resolution in Pakistan’s National Assembly, calling for the public hanging of people convicted of the sexual abuse and murder of children.

The resolution passed by a majority, but was opposed by senior government ministers, including Shireen Mazari, the Human Rights Minister, and Fawad Chaudhry, the Minister for Science and Technology.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception - regardless of who is accused, the nature or circumstances of the crime, guilt or innocence or method of execution.