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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 October 2006, 18:56 GMT 19:56 UK
MP in bid to save death row man
George Galloway
Mr Galloway has been honoured in Pakistan
Respect Party MP George Galloway is to fly to Pakistan to plead for the life of a Leeds man on death row.

Mirza Tahir Hussain, 36, is due to be hanged for the murder of a taxi driver 18 years ago.

His stay of execution expired on 1 October, but no-one is executed during Ramadan, which runs until 24 October.

The case has won the backing of UK and Euro MPs and Amnesty International, who have all urged Pakistan President Musharraf to quash the penalty.

The president said on a recent visit to the UK that he could not interfere in his country's judicial processes.

Civilian honours

Mr Galloway, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, said he was sure the president did have the power to commute the sentence.

He promised to lobby senior officials in the government, legislature and judiciary to revoke the death penalty.

He said: "Mr Hussain's family and friends have prevailed upon me to intervene and I do so gladly.

"I have not visited Pakistan under military rule, but have had a long association with the country, hold the state's two highest civilian honours, and have considerable support there.

Mirza Tahir Hussain
Mirza Tahir Hussain is awaiting execution

"Those are all advantages I hope to draw on in this endeavour."

Mr Hussain, a former Territorial Army soldier from Leeds, was just 18 when he left West Yorkshire in December 1988 to visit relatives in Pakistan.

Three days after flying out from Heathrow, Mr Hussain, who had been brought to Britain as a baby by his parents, took a train from his aunt's home in Karachi to Rawalpindi, where he took a taxi for the journey to his family in the village of Bhubar.

Later that night, he led police to the body of the driver, who had been shot dead, and told them that the driver had tried to sexually assault him and pulled a gun, and that during a struggle the weapon went off and killed the driver.

In 1996 he was acquitted of the crime at the Lahore High Court.

A week later it was declared that some of the alleged offences came within the jurisdiction of Islamic law and his case was referred to the Federal Sharia Court, which reversed the decision of the High Court and imposed the death penalty.




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