Pak soldier hanged for murdering colleague;first in four years

A Pakistani soldier sentenced to death for murdering a colleague was hanged in a jail in Punjab province today, becoming the first person to be executed since the PPP-led government imposed an informal moratorium on executions over four years ago.

Muhammad Hussain was hanged in Mianwali Jail at 6.30 am, officials said.
A resident of Sahiwal area of Sargodha district, Hussain was sentenced to death in 2009 for killing Havaldar Khadim Hussain in 2008.

Hussain was executed after the formal issuance of a death warrant.

Senior jail and army officials and a doctor gathered at the jail at 5.30 am to complete legal formalities so that the execution could be carried out before sunrise.

An executioner was sent from Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail for the hanging.

Hussain's body was handed over to his relatives. He was hanged after all his appeals for mercy were rejected.

He was tried by a military court in Okara cantonment that sentenced him to death in February 2009.

Mercy petitions sent by Hussain to army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and President Asif Ali Zardari were rejected, police officials said.

The PPP has imposed an unofficial moratorium on executions shortly after it came to power in early 2008.

Among those who benefited from the moratorium is Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh, who was convicted for alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in 1990.
Media reports said the presidency issues a letter every three months staying all executions in the country's four provinces.

The provincial home departments then issue instructions to chiefs of prisons department not to carry out executions.

Legal experts said the PPP-led government had apparently not intervened in Hussain's case because he was sentenced by a military court.

According to the NGO Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, over 8,000 people are currently on death row in the country's prisons.

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