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Mirza Tahir Hussain needs saving


by Sunny on 5th October, 2006 at 4:59 am    

There were high hopes when President Musharraf arrived in London for a quick chat with Tony Blair last week. Not for any meaninful pronouncements on the War on Terror, mind you, but on the fate of Mirza Tahir Hussain.

Mirza Tahir Hussain, 35, was sentenced to to hang this month in June this year for the alleged killing of a taxi driver 18 years ago. Although he was acquitted of murder by the Pakistani High Court 10 years ago, a Shariah court imposed the death penalty two years later.

His execution has continuously been delayed as a bit of pressure piled on over the summer. And yet all of it to no avail. He was due to be executed on Sunday but now has to wait until Ramadan ends. The whole situation is a farce as Thabet points out:

Indeed, one of the dissenting judges in the Shariat Court, Abdul Waheed Siddiqui, said that Hussain was “an innocent, raw youth not knowing the mischief and filth in which the police of this country is engrossed” and that the prosecution rested their claims on “conflicting, mutually annihilating” versions.

What is also apparent in this sorry case, apart from the state of Pakistan’s legal system, the corruption of their police force and the refusal of the Dictator to intervene for political purposes, is the damning silence in much of the media in Britain. Hussain is, afterall, a British citizen. Well, Hussain was a man who, despite not being born in Britain, served in the Territorial Army and was keen to join the regulars. He was willing to die for his country (despite not being born here), but now it seems his country is willing to remain silent and let him die.

Tim Ireland at Bloggerheads is similarly annoyed.

Why isn’t Rebekah ‘Red Mist’ Wade screaming for the blood of those who would dare to allow a fellow countryman to suffer such a blatant and disgraceful miscarriage of justice?

Well, let me give you a clue … when it comes down to it - Mirza is a bloody darkie, and simply not worth the bother.

Can anyone be forgiven for coming to that conclusion?

General Musharraf is, as usual, lying through his teeth. Earlier this week he said he had no jurisdiction to overturn the verdict. This is rubbish, as both bloggers point out.

While it is almost given that certain newspapers will not bother with this as a story unless a girl and “forced marriage” is involved, the silence of our politicians is much less forgivable.
[See illustration]

Also mentioned at: Eteraz, UK Today, CunningTitle, Blairwatch, NotSaussure and Wolly days.

Spread the word, apply the pressure!
[also on comment is free]



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26 Comments   |   Add your own


  1. under|progress — on 5th October, 2006 at 8:16 am  

    The damning silence over Mirza Tahir Hussain…

    The plight of Mirza Tahir Hussain has received minimal coverage during Musharraf’s visit to Britain this past week. Hussain was involved in an incident with a taxi during which the latter was shot dead. Hussain was initially found guilty of…

  2. Sahil — on 5th October, 2006 at 9:51 am  

    Thanks for this Sunny, I haven’t heard this story from any of my regular news feeds. I think there’s more pressing matter to deal with: Prince pays go-go dancers, and some death threat from a jihadi character. Great!

  3. AsifB — on 5th October, 2006 at 10:03 am  

    Well said Sunny.

    Although some bits of the media have given fair coverage on the case - the silence of politicians is deafening.

    As you rightly point out, with both his TA background AND the strong dissent from one of the Sharia judges, his case ought to have very wide ranging appeal and be a much better known campaign.

    I felt very sorry for his brother on tv, pleading for Islamic clemency in the month of Ramadan, when the facts - as supported by the dissenting Sharia judge - appear to be that the Sharia court’s intervention was corruptly motivated.

    The wider scandal here is that the Pakistan Supreme Court is not willing to overrule any court with Sharia in its title.

  4. Galloise Blonde — on 5th October, 2006 at 10:23 am  

    Email Musharraf with this link.

  5. sonia — on 5th October, 2006 at 12:11 pm  

    Yep thanks Sunny for raising this.

    I agree with Asif the big problem is the Supreme Court not willing/or feeling able to overrun the Sharia court. It’s terrible that Sharia courts seem to think they can play God - who are they to take anyone’s life? Really - I would challenge them on the basis of their own religion - if they believe that God is supposed to be merciful and if someone repents will be compassionate etc. etc. well then if they take away person x’s life well they haven’t got much chance to ‘repent’ have they. So it’s not up to them obviously and clearly it’s more to do with their wish for power.

    This is a serious matter and it would be helpful if more people thought about it carefully - particularly if they feel they want to support such harsh applications of ’sharia’. or people who think such judgements are acceptable in the name of ’sharia’. similarly re: the situation in Iran with judges executing people left right and centre with the ’sharia’ excuse - especially young girls.

  6. Kismet Hardy — on 5th October, 2006 at 12:36 pm  

    Does anyone remember that case not so long ago of the pakistani serial killer Javed Iqbal who strangled, chopped up and drowned his victims in tubs of acid and some fruitcake judge ordained he die the same way?

  7. Sid — on 5th October, 2006 at 2:06 pm  

    Political exploitation, incompetent and corrupt police, intransigent and morally corrupt Shariah judges, racist tabloid editor gobshites.

    To be fair, a lot of the quality MSM outlets have covered this. Can we really blame Rebekah Wade for breaking out of her remit of tits on page 3 and football on the back pages to cover stuff like this? I have long ago given up any expectation of journalism from the tabloids. Karma will, no doubt, exact a long, painful and malodorous death for Rebekkah Wade, but can we expect her to develop a set of journalistic principles?

    Thank god for blogs. Now how do I apply pressure for clemency for this man?

  8. Bert Preast — on 5th October, 2006 at 2:17 pm  

    Is there a sizeable popular campaign in Pakistan to pardon this bloke?

  9. AsifB — on 5th October, 2006 at 2:22 pm  

    Sid - Its not too late to write to Rebakah Wade and play up the TA membership angle. Otherwise, AI and co say most letter writing routes have been exhausted - but if you haven’t already no harm in trying Your MP, Councillor, PM plus :

    Rt. Hon. Margaret Beckett MP
    Foreign & Commonwealth Office
    King Charles Street
    London
    SW1A 2AH

    Tel.: +44 020 7008 1500
    Fax: +44 20 7839 2417
    Email private.office@fco.gov.uk

    b. Contact your MP to sign Early Day Motion No. 2081 tabled by John Battle MP urging the British government to petition the President of Pakistan to prevent Mirza’s execution..

    For contact details of who your MP is and where to write to them, visit www.writetothem.com

    Alternatively, call the House of Commons switchboard on 020 7219 3000 and ask for your MP’s office

    c. Write to the Pakistani High Commissioner in Britain Dr Maleeha Lodi requesting her to intercede on Mirza’s behalf in this clear miscarriage if justice.

    Dr Maleeha Lodi
    High Commissioner for Pakistan
    Pakistan High Commission
    34-36 Lowndes Square
    London, SW1X 9JN

    Fax. 020 7664 9224
    Email: pareplondon@supanet.com
    Write or meet with your local MP on the case highlighting the issues outlined and request a response on the points raised.

  10. Sunny — on 5th October, 2006 at 2:24 pm  

    I think pressuring the Pakistani embassy here or politicians would work better.

    Thabet has some suggestions on applying pressure.

  11. Sid — on 5th October, 2006 at 2:26 pm  

    Nice one AsifB.

  12. Jagdeep — on 5th October, 2006 at 2:55 pm  

    Sid

    Rebekah Wade doesnt give a damn, because Pakistani men, and Asian men generally, are the scum of the Earth as far as some people in this society are concerened. Hence this chap does not generate as much innate sympathy as anyone else would, or as a 12 year old girl who swaps a drab council estate in the highlands for her fathers palatial mansion in Lahore generates.

  13. Raiyan — on 6th October, 2006 at 3:33 am  

    THANK YOU thank you thank you Sunny!
    I swear, you and everyone else trying to help Mirza deserve a HUGE hug for raising awareness on this disgusting display of cowardice by all involved.
    I’ve been trying desperately to try an get the Pakistani press to cover Mirza’s case (I’m in Karachi) and finally got a short letter printed in the daily English paper Dawn yesterday.
    see here:
    http://www.dawn.com/2006/10/05/letted.htm#2
    Altho none of us are empowered to save him, I want every single Pakistani and British citizen to know that they are indeed guilty for the gross injustice carried out by the State of Pakistan continually for EIGHTEEN years. But as I pointed out to Musharraf in a personal letter, HE will be wholly responsible if Mirza’s execution is seen thru just cus he doesn’t have the b*lls to stand up to quasi-Islamic elements in his midst.
    I don’t think anyone living in Pakistan can really feel safe living under such a justice system where capital punishment is the favored form of ‘retribution’ regardless of the circumstances surrounding a crime.
    I don’t think anyone who values life and justice can consider themselves exempt of the duty to help protect an innocent man.
    I don’t think any Muslim who believes that God is fair can justify such blind adherence to strictures that are meant to be applied and interpreted with the intelligence and goodwill of men with conscience.
    I urge EVERYONE to write to Musharraf personally. We need to remind Pervez Musharraf about Article 45 of the Pakistani Constitution, cus he seems to have forgotten. He should know the world hasn’t and won’t turn a blind eye.
    To contact Musharraf, visit the following link:
    http://www.presidentofpakistan.gov.pk/WTPresidentMessage.aspx

    Fill in your name and location as required.

    SUBJECT: Imminent Execution of Mirza Tahir Hussain

    Due to the 3000 character limit you can (if you want)copy and paste the revised version of my original letter hereunder:

    I am writing to express my concern that you have yet to exercise your presidential powers prevent the imminent execution of British citizen Mirza Tahir Hussain, who has been on death row in Pakistan for 18 years and was due to be executed on October 1st 2006. His execution has been rescheduled by default since it fell during the month of Ramadan.
    When he arrived in Pakistan for the first time In December 1988, Mirza was just 18. Just one day in Pakistan ruined the young man’s life. Eighteen subsequent years of unjust treatment at the hands of a corrupt judiciary, receiving no reprieve from successive governments, Mirza is now 36 and the failed duality of the Pakistani court system still has him by the neck. Evidently, Mirza Tahir’s real crime was voluntarily surrendering to the police in the hopes of finding justice for an act of self-defense. However, the corrupt police in Pakistan have made a mockery of the rule of law and continue to terrorize their citizens.
    This is a huge miscarriage of justice – Mirza has spent the last 18 years in jail for a crime he did not commit. The evidence against him is “mutually annihilating”, as was established by the Honourable Justice(r)Abdul Waheed Siddiqui in a 59-page review of the FSC’s judgment in 1998. Please refer to the aforementioned document if you are, indeed, in any doubt over how heinous a crime you will personally be guilty of committing if you do not intercede now and prevent the victim’s family from pursuing blind vengeance on legally unsustainable grounds.
    You reportedly told the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee: “I have to adhere to the legal norms of Pakistan..I cannot promise anything but let me assure you I will abide by the legalities of Pakistan.”
    But Mr President – the law is quite clear in such matters. You can indeed commute Mirza’s case by simply exercising the Presidential powers granted under Article 45 of the Pakistani constitution, which states that “the President shall have power to grant pardon, reprieve and respite, and to remit, suspend or commute any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or other authority”. But you haven’t so far.
    You are, in fact, the only vehicle of justice through which the decision of a flawed judicial system can be overturned to save his life. The Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) said: “To let nine criminals go free is preferable to convicting one innocent man.”
    The State of Pakistan is guilty of convicting and imprisoning a potentially innocent man for 18 long years. I urge you to ensure that Mirza Tahir Hussain is not executed and that he is allowed return to his home in the UK.
    None of us are innocent if we stand by and watch such injustice being carried out, especially not you, Sir.
    For the sake of continuing justice in all civilized Islamic states, please grant Mirza the clemency you have repeatedly denied him and set the correct precedence for establishing guilt in courts of justice.

    PLEASE take out 5 minutes and help Mirza.
    Oh an incase you guys haven’t read this yet, Martin Fletcher snuck into Adiala Jail and interviewed Mirza: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2391444_1,00.html

  14. Raiyan — on 6th October, 2006 at 3:36 am  

    And no…Pakistan has yet to wake up to what they’re playing passive role in. I need TheTimes to give me permission to have Mirza’s interview and plea published..I hope they let me

  15. Amir — on 6th October, 2006 at 3:52 am  

    Raijan,

    This is a horrible case. I heard it on my local radio station a while back in Manchester. Sharia Law, as it stands in Pakistan (or anywhere for that matter), is both brutal and illogical.

    If you’re planning to get in contact with The Times newspaper, may I recommend one of their regular columnists. He’s very, very nice (or so I’m told).

    I’ll pray for his release.

    Amir

  16. Vikrant — on 6th October, 2006 at 8:53 am  

    Pretty much like the way they hanged Indian Sikh guy who had unknowingly strayed into pakistani terrirtory in 1990. He was accused of a few 1989 bombings despite the fact that he was in India at the time. 16 years on he is on death row.

  17. Galloise Blonde — on 6th October, 2006 at 9:37 am  

    In today’s Times

  18. Ministry of Truth — on 6th October, 2006 at 10:11 am  

    […] More at Bloggerheads and Pickled Politics. […]

  19. under|progress — on 6th October, 2006 at 12:59 pm  

    Letter from Mirza Tahir Hussain…

    The BBC reports that Mirza Tahir Hussain had written a letter to Tony Blair. The letter first appeared in The Times this morning, whose reporter Martin Fletcher managed to meet Mirza Hussain in his Rawalpindi prison and conduct a lengthy…

  20. raz — on 19th October, 2006 at 3:53 pm  

    i have wrote to musharaf please do the same to get Hussain out http://www.presidentofpakistan.gov.pk/WTPresidentMessage.aspx go to this link thank you

  21. Raz — on 19th October, 2006 at 4:22 pm  

    Todays news the date of Hussain’s Execution has been delayed from end of oct to 31 Dec 06 thank god

    please copy and paste these letters to word and complet your name address etc and send them off
    thank you

    Sample Letter to Margaret Beckett

    [Your Name]
    [Your Address]

    [Date]

    Rt. Hon. Margaret Beckett MP
    Foreign & Commonwealth Office
    King Charles Street
    London
    SW1A 2AH

    Dear Ms Beckett,

    Re: Imminent Execution of British Citizen in Pakistan

    I am writing to request that you act urgently to prevent the imminent execution of British citizen Mirza Tahir Hussain in Pakistan. Mirza has been on death row in Pakistan for 18 years and was due to be executed on 3 June 2006. He has now been given a reprieve until 3 July 2006 and there is still a substantial danger of him being executed any time after this.

    I appreciate that you have recently written to President Musharraf about this case and I am grateful for your efforts. However, I request you to intensify your efforts to guarantee that Mirza will be not only granted an indefinite stay of execution but also released from prison and allowed return to Britain. Under Article 45 of the Constitution of Pakistan, President Musharraf has the power to commute the sentence and has indeed used such a power on many occasions in the past including the he commutation of the sentences in 2000 of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and in 1998 of Parminder Singh Saini who hijacked an airliner from India to Pakistan.

    As you are aware, Mirza is a British citizen who served in the Territorial Army and was prepared to give his life for Britain. It is wholly unjustified that the British government should allow him to fester away in a prison in Pakistan for a crime of which he is innocent. He has already lost half of his life in prison.

    I appeal to you and Prime Minister Blair to personally intervene further to ensure Mirza is allowed live the remainder of his life in freedom.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon on this urgent matter.

    Yours Sincerely,

    [Your Signature]

    [Your Name]

    ————————————————————————————————————

    Sample Letter to MP

    [Your Name]
    [Your Address]

    [Date]

    [Your MP]
    House of Commons
    London
    SW1A 0AA

    Dear [Your MP]

    Re: Imminent Execution of British Citizen in Pakistan

    As a member of your constituency, I am writing to request that you act urgently to prevent the imminent execution of British citizen Mirza Tahir Hussain in Pakistan. Mirza has been on death row in Pakistan for 18 years and is due to be executed on 3 July 2006.

    In December 1988, at the age of 18, Mirza travelled to Pakistan to visit family. He stayed for one night with his aunt in Karachi before travelling onwards to Rawalpindi in the evening from where he took a taxi to his village Bhubar. According to Mirza, someway through the journey, the driver stopped the car and tried to physically and sexually assault Mirza. The driver took out a pistol and in the scuffle that ensued, the pistol went off and hit the driver who ultimately died of his wounds.

    Mirza drove the taxi to the first police station he could find and handed them the pistol. He was subsequently arrested, tried and convicted of murder. Despite the High Court acquitting Mirza of all offences and charges against him in May 1996, the Federal Shariat court re-tried the case, reversed the decision of the High Court and awarded him the death penalty, ignoring the numerous discrepancies in the case. The judgment was affirmed by the Supreme Court.

    This is a huge miscarriage of justice – Mirza is a British citizen who has spent the last 18 years in a Pakistani jail for a crime he did not commit. He completed his secondary education in Britain and also joined the British Territorial Army. The case against him is ludicrous and the British government must do all in its power to stop the execution and ensure that Mirza is returned to the UK as soon as possible.

    During his time in prison, Mirza has also passed his matriculation, FA and BA Part 1 exams, and has shown intent of taking up higher-education and studying law. Neither Mirza nor his family both in Pakistan and the UK have any previous criminal convictions or involvement in criminal activities of any kind.

    I urge you to write to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary and ensure that Mirza is not executed and that he is allowed return to his home in the UK and rebuild his shattered life. Under Article 45 of the Constitution of Pakistan, President Musharraf has the power to commute the sentence and has indeed used such a power on many occasions in the past including the commutation of the sentences in 2000 of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and in 1998 of Parminder Singh Saini who hijacked an airliner from India to Pakistan.

    I also would like you to sign EDM 2081 tabled by John Battle MP urging the government to petition the President of Pakistan to prevent Mirza’s execution.

    Thank you for your time. I will be contacting you shortly to confirm receipt of my letter. I look forward to hearing from you soon on this urgent matter.

    Yours Sincerely,

    [Your Signature]

    [Your Name]

    ————————————————————————————————————

    Sample Letter to President Musharraf

    [Your Name]
    [Your Address]

    [Date]

    President
    General Pervez Musharraf
    Pakistan Secretariat,
    Islamabad,
    Pakistan

    Dear President Musharraf:

    Re: Imminent Execution of British Citizen in Pakistan

    I am writing to request that you use your powers under Article 45 of the Constitution of Pakistan to commute the death sentence of Mirza Tahir Hussain, a British citizen who has been on death row in Pakistan for 18 years and is due to be executed on 3 July 2006.

    This case is a clear miscarriage of justice which has destroyed the life of a naïve young man. In December 1988, at the age of 18, Mirza travelled to Pakistan to visit family. He stayed for one night with his aunt in Karachi before travelling onwards to Rawalpindi in the evening from where he took a taxi to his village Bhubar.Mirza states that, someway through the journey, the driver stopped the car and tried to physically and sexually assault Mirza. The driver took out a pistol and in the scuffle that ensued, the pistol went off and hit the driver who ultimately died of his wounds.

    Mirza drove the taxi to the first police station he could find and handed them the pistol. He was subsequently arrested, tried and convicted of murder. Despite the High Court acquitting Mirza of all offences and charges against him in May 1996, the Federal Shariat court re-tried the case, reversed the decision of the High Court and awarded him the death penalty. The judgment was affirmed by the Supreme Court.

    This is a huge travesty of justice – Mirza has spent the last 18 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. The case against him is ludicrous. Even the dissenting judge in the Federal Shariat Court strongly recommended that Mirza be acquitted due to the lack of witnesses and a confession.

    Neither Mirza nor his family both in Pakistan and the UK have any previous criminal convictions or involvement in criminal activities of any kind.

    I urge you to make use your Constitutional powers to grant Mirza clemency and allow him to return to his home in the UK and rebuild his shattered life. I believe that you have used such a power on many occasions in the past including the commutation of the sentences in 2000 of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and in 1998 of Parminder Singh Saini who hijacked an airliner from India to Pakistan.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon on this urgent matter.

    Yours Sincerely,

    [Your Name]

  22. Sid — on 19th October, 2006 at 4:26 pm  

    Wasn’t that long ago (oh lets see now, 1985?) when Whitey referred to all of us as “Black”.

  23. sonia — on 19th October, 2006 at 4:43 pm  

    sharia law in pakistan is both brutal and illogical -heh heh amir ill agree with that in fact id go much further and say it’s downright bloody torture and an absolute f**cking nightmare and a complete disgrace.

    {application and judgement of so-called sharia law sucks bigtime - completely power hungry torture-loving vengeful types seem to be managing to put themselves at the helm. grr)

    thanks raz for the sample letters. what a nightmare for the poor man. 18 years long! i cannot believe the various British government/s couldn’t have had him ‘extradited’ all this time. sheesh!

    here’s the link to Amnesty’s appeal on this. ( they also link to lovely mr. tony’s website where we can send emails too) thank god for Amnesty intl

    http://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions_details.asp?ActionID=116

  24. sonia — on 19th October, 2006 at 4:50 pm  

    i doubt ‘popular campaigns’ in pakistan make much difference - dictators and bully-type men don’t tend to take notice of that sort of thing..

  25. zou — on 19th October, 2006 at 5:30 pm  

    is it the first case of a british national being sentenced to death in pakistan?

  26. Lee Vickery — on 20th October, 2006 at 10:58 pm  

    A terrible indictment of the Pakistani dual legal system. How can a defendant be cleared on flawed evidence presented to a secular, federal court, but be convicted on identical evidence presented to a religious court, which charged him with highway robbery. An offence severe enough to merit the death sentence.

    A nonsense case, which highlights the ineptitude of the pakistani legal system. I rephase this, because ineptitude beggars incompetence, which can be excused to a minute point.

    I hasten to say corruption, closing the book on a case, which smacks of a juducial system which is not fit for the 21 century. A 21st century, which Pakistan is purportedly trying to join.

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