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(Washington, DC) — The Chinese government should halt the imminent execution of a Pakistan national, Amnesty International said today.
Syed Zahid Hussain Shah, a 36-year-old Pakistani businessman, is due to be executed by lethal injection on September 21, 2011.
Arrested in Shanghai in 2008 on drug trafficking charges, he was sentenced to death in 2010. That sentence was subsequently upheld by an appeal court and approved by China’s Supreme Court. Four other Pakistanis arrested with Shah were sentenced to life imprisonment.
“Executing someone for drug related offences violates internationally accepted standards for imposing the death penalty,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific director. “The Chinese government should grant clemency in this case, particularly in light of its ‘special relationship’ with Pakistan. The Pakistani government should provide Shah with urgent additional consular assistance.”
Members of Shah’s family told Amnesty International that they believe he is innocent. They said he had been falsely implicated by his business partners.
Although Shah received consular assistance during his three years in detention, his family claims it was inadequate.
Pakistan’s Advisor for Human Rights told Amnesty International he has asked the president to intervene and request his Chinese counterpart to delay the execution.
No one sentenced to death receives a fair trial in China. Fair trial standards fall short of international commitments made by the Chinese government.
Allegations of torture are seldom investigated adequately. Many defendants are convicted based on confessions they insist were extracted through torture. Defendants are in effect presumed guilty unless they can prove their innocence, and often have limited access to legal counsel.
Statistics on the death penalty are a state secret, but Amnesty International estimates that China executes thousands of people every year, more than the rest of the world combined. It provides no clemency procedures for condemned prisoners after they have exhausted their appeals through the courts.
Amnesty calls on the National People’s Congress to introduce a legal procedure for clemency. An immediate moratorium should be placed on executions in China and all other countries that retain the death penalty, including Pakistan.
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