Thursday, September 17, 2009

PAKISTAN: Govt. may commute sentence

Death Penalty and Execution News (Rick Halperin's site)

SEPTEMBER 18, 2009:

The government is considering commuting death sentence into life imprisonment and the Ministry of Interior has already sent a draft proposal to the law division.

'We have sent a draft summary to the law division for legal opinion,' Interior Minister Rehman Malik said in a statement on Thursday.

He, however, said that even if such a law was made there would be no mercy for terrorists involved in the killing of innocent people, 'They (terrorists) will have to face the death penalty,' he said.

Mr Malik said that because of reservations shown by some stakeholders over the proposed law, the ministry had sent the draft to the law division.

Analysts are of the opinion that the government's decision to add 'cyber terrorism' to the list of capital crimes has raised questions about its resolve to keep its promise to commute death sentence of 7,000 prisoners.

The law of capital punishment is believed to be one of the hurdles in the way of signing extradition treaties with some countries, e.g. Britain, where there is no death penalty.

President Asif Ali Zardari last month issued a decree making 'internet crime' punishable by execution or life imprisonment if it caused the death of a person.

The new offence brings to 28 the number of crimes carrying the death sentence in Pakistan.

(source: Dawn)

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