An anti-terrorism court in Pakistan has re-ordered the execution of a man convicted for a crime his family and lawyers say was committed when he was a juvenile.
They also say he was tortured into a confession.
His family says Shafqat Hussain, now 24, was only 14 when he was arrested and convicted of involuntary manslaughter for kidnapping and killing a child while he was employed as a security guard in 2004.
Unable to afford legal counsel the state appointed him a defense lawyer, whom, according to human rights groups, failed to provide any evidence or claim that Hussain was a juvenile.
This meant he was tried as an adult in an anti-terrorism court.
The only defense raised in court was that Hussain was tortured for nine days while under police custody and forced to confess under duress, according to his lawyer and family.
Manzoor, Hussain’s brother, met him in 2010 when he found out the details of the way he was allegedly tortured.
“His nails had been removed and his thumb on his right hand was twisted because of being broken.
“He had cigarette stub marks all over his arm.” Manzoor told CNN.
Hussain was due to be hanged on January 19, but after international pressure, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar called for a stay order.
Addressing parliament, the minister called for an investigation into the young man’s age.
Two months later, after a period of silence, another death warrant was issued for Hussain, with an execution date set for March 19.
CNN contacted Pakistan’s Interior Ministry for comment, but they did not respond.
That decision came in the wake of an announcement by Pakistan that it would lift its moratorium on the death penalty for all cases, not just those tried in anti-terrorism courts.
Pakistan lifted the death penalty moratorium for terrorism cases following the attack on an Army Public School in Peshawar, which left at least 145 teachers and students dead. It was the deadliest act of terror in the country’s history.
The decision to lift the moratorium on all cases affects more than 8,000 prisoners currently on death row, the largest number in the world.
Hussain’s lawyer Sarah Belal expressed outrage at the decision.
“No inquiry was conducted, nor Shafqat’s family and legal counsel ever contacted to provide evidence of his juvenility. How then has the government decided that it’s now OK to execute Shafqat?”
The condemned man’s brother, Manzoor, told CNN all the evidence confirming his age was easily available.
“The government just has to ask and we will provide them with all the proof they need. Just save our boy’s life.”