[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 6 October 2006, 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK
Death row Briton in plea to Blair
Mirza Tahir Hussain
Mirza Tahir Hussain was due to be hanged on Sunday

A British man awaiting execution for murder in Pakistan has written to Tony Blair asking him to help save his life.

Mirza Tahir Hussain, from Leeds, was jailed in 1988 for killing a taxi driver. His execution, scheduled for last week, was not carried out.

In the handwritten letter, published in the Times newspaper, he asked Mr Blair to press Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf for his immediate release.

Downing Street said Mr Blair had raised the case with the President.

"The issue has also been raised by Foreign Office officials with their Pakistani counterparts," a spokesperson added.

Hussain pleaded with the prime minister to raise his case "most emphatically" with the Pakistani leader and press for his release.

I request all to keep up their support and prayers
Tahir Mirza Hussain

"I hope President Musharaf [sic] will be obliged to do this and set me free," he wrote.

Hussain was convicted of murdering the taxi driver in the district of Chakwal in 1988 when he was 18 years old.

He had argued that the taxi driver tried to sexually assault him at gunpoint. In a scuffle, the gun went off and the driver was killed.

The Lahore High Court acquitted him in 1996, but a week later it was declared that some of the offences came under Islamic law.

The Federal Shariat Court reversed the decision of the High Court and meted out the death penalty to Hussain.

As his execution date approached this year, a number of groups and individuals - led by his brother Amjad - have desperately tried to put pressure on the Pakistani president to intervene.

In September, after the execution was stayed for a month, Amjad appealed directly to Mr Blair to step in.

The Prime Minister reportedly took up the issue during a private meeting with President Musharraf in London last week.

'No reprieve' for death row man
01 Oct 06 |  West Yorkshire
Death row case 'to be reviewed'
12 Sep 06 |  West Yorkshire
Execution delay for death row man
16 Aug 06 |  West Yorkshire

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific