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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 May 2006, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK
Ministers plead to save prisoner
Mirza Tahir Hussain
Mirza Hussain is in jail in Pakistan
Two Cabinet ministers have joined an appeal to the President of Pakistan not to execute a man from Leeds.

Mirza Hussain, who has dual UK-Pakistan nationality, was convicted of murdering a taxi driver in Pakistan in 1988.

After his conviction was overturned and reinstated twice, he was sentenced to be hanged on 1 June, his 38th birthday.

Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett and Overseas Development Minister Hilary Benn are both urging President Musharraf to commute the sentence.

Mr Benn is an MP for Leeds and has joined fellow Leeds MPs Greg Mullholland and John Battle in calling for the sentence to be commuted.

Mr Hussain has been in jail for 18 years.

The family's last hope rests with President Pervez Musharraf
The family's last hope rests with President Pervez Musharraf

A spokesman for the UK Foreign Office said the letter from the Foreign Secretary was in the final stages of being drafted.

He said: "Our policy is one of opposition to the death penalty and the Foreign Secretary is making that point strongly."

The letter would request the President to commute the death penalty to an appropriate jail sentence, he said.

Pakistan's Foreign Office spokeswoman Tasneem Aslam told the BBC that so far her government had not received any official request from the UK government to commute the death sentence.

However, she said some UK Parliamentarians and human rights groups had submitted requests in this regard at Pakistan's diplomatic mission in London, which were yet to be forwarded to the Pakistani government.




SEE ALSO:
Family's appeal to stop execution
10 May 06 |  West Yorkshire


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