Elderly Pakistani mother calls for halting execution of son who was sentenced to death at 14

An elderly Pakistani mother made an emotional appeal Saturday for authorities to halt the execution of her son, who was sentenced to death at age 14.

Shafqat Hussain was sentenced in 2004 by a court in the port city of Karachi after it found him guilty of killing another boy.

Hussain's 87-year-old mother Makhni Begum pleaded with the government to cancel the execution.

In a telephone interview from the Pakistani-controlled section of the disputed Kashmir territory, she insisted that Hussain was innocent.

"I request to the government and I beg to the judiciary to order the retrial of my son. Please spare his life. Don't snatch him from me," she sobbed.

The woman said her son went to Karachi to work as a security guard, but one day she heard that he had been arrested in a murder case.

Hussain's brother Manzoor alleged that his brother was tortured by police to force a confession.

"My brother was subjected to the worst torture for admitting that he had killed another boy and dumped his body" near a drain in Karachi, he said.

No police official was immediately available for comment.

Maznoor, who uses only one name, said the jail authorities had summoned them for a final meeting with Hussain, who is scheduled to be executed on March 19.

A Pakistani human rights organization has also called for Hussain's execution to be halted due to his youthful age when the crime was committed.

In a statement, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said Pakistan's minister for interior had announced in January that an inquiry would be conducted into the concerns raised regarding Hussain's conviction. "No such inquiry has taken place," it said.

Pakistan imposed a moratorium on executions in 2008, but it partially lifted the ban in December after a Taliban attack on a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar killed 150 people, mostly children. The death penalty moratorium was completely lifted this month with authorities making plans to execute all prisoners on death row.


Associated Press writer Roshan Mughal in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan contributed to this report.