Vienna, 11 June 2015 - Federal Minister Sebastian Kurz showed himself deeply concerned by the continued course of executions in Pakistan through the execution of Aftab Bahadur in Lahore on 10 June. His petition, stating that he was only 15 years old when sentenced and being subjected to torture before confessing, was ignored. The EU had intervened a day prior to the execution with the government in Islamabad and demanded the immediate suspension of the sentence. “Austria vigorously rejects the death penalty as inhumane and atrocious. We especially stand up for the rights of youth culprits. The UN-Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly prohibits sentencing persons to death, who have not yet reached the age of 18 when committing a crime”, said the Minister for Foreign Affairs.
“Also Shafqat Hussain is threatened by the noose. He as well is said to have been a minor at the time of his alleged crime and has also claimed to have been subjected to torture. I therefore call once more upon Pakistan, to keep up her international duties and to immediately start broad and independent investigations of the case of Shafqat Hussain as well as all comparable cases.”
Pakistan lifted a moratorium on the death penalty, which had been in place since 2008, only last December and since then has executed at least 150 persons. “The suspension of the long-lasting moratorium in Pakistan is a painful back set in Austria’s and the EU’s efforts against the death penalty. All the more Austria will internationally continue to strongly advocate for the worldwide ban of the death penalty”, the Minister closed.