Karachi: The age of death-row prisoner Shafqat Hussain has turned into a mystery.
According to the Karachi jail officials at the time of his conviction in 2004 Hussain was 23 years old.
Jail authorities referring to the prisoners admissions register, which is being used to record the age of every incoming inmate, which cites that Shafqat’s age was 23 when he was brought to the prison in 2004.
While talking to media the jail official said “We record the age by our findings and by asking the prisoner. According to our register, he was not 14 but 23,”
In their defence, the jails officials also in the view that if Hussain was 14, we would have sent him to the juvenile jail. Why would we keep him in the main jail?”
Hussain’s family and lawyers have disputed the prison record. They claim he was 14 years old when he was sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court for kidnapping and killing a seven-year-old who went missing from the apartments where the convict worked.
The murder provision was later reduced to involuntary manslaughter and he was sentenced to death for kidnapping. Shafqat’s lawyers claim he was forced into confessing his role in the crime after suffering torture at the hands of the police.
The government has halted his execution for 30 days on demand of the civil society, while his family and lawyers called for reinvestigation of the case to determine his age and his juvenility at the time of the offence.