Aftab Nazir Bahadur was executed today for a crime he claimed he did not commit.
The Pakistani Christian, who spent most of his life on death row, was arrested 22 years ago when he was 15. At that time, 15-year-olds could be sentenced to death, although the minimum age was raised to 18 in 2000.
So in September 1992 Bahadur was sentenced to death for the murder of Sabiha Bari and her two sons. The evidence against him came from Ghulam Mustafa and a second witness. Both have now recently said they were tortured by police to implicate Bahadur and have both since retracted their statements. Mustafa has since stated that he was not in fact there, and that Bahadur had nothing to do with the crime.
“They will take me to the gallows in the middle of the night,” Bahadur had said in his final letter to the outside world from his Lahore prison cell, “and that, I suppose, will be that after all this time”.
Pakistan has executed as many as 150 prisoners since lifting its moratorium on the death penalty in December. Christians are often discriminated against, and disproportionately disadvantaged in Pakistan.