Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Thursday, 19 October 2006 12:51 UK

Death row man's execution delayed

Mirza Tahir Hussain

A Leeds man on death row in Pakistan for 18 years has been given a two-month stay of execution.

Mirza Tahir Hussain, 36, was due to be hanged on 1 November for murdering a taxi driver in 1988. He will not now be executed until at least 31 December.

Prince Charles, who was due to be in Pakistan on the day of the execution, had expressed his concerns.

Mirza Hussain's brother Amjad, who has campaigned for a pardon, said the family's "torture" continued.

He told BBC News: "Obviously I'm grateful to his Royal Highness making that clemency plea and obviously it's fallen on deaf ears.

It is a continuation of the torture and the agony, it is not a solution
Amjad Hussain, brother

"They're not going to execute my brother while Mr Musharraf takes his Royal Highness to dinner, but after that he will execute him maybe a month or two months later.

"Nobody asked for it to be delayed for two months, it's just basically a delay of execution.

"It is a continuation of the torture and the agony. It is not a solution."

It is the fourth stay of execution granted to Mr Hussain.

He was convicted in 1988 at the age of 18 of murdering the driver in the district of Chakwal.

Sex assault claim

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 shortly afterwards it was declared that some of the offences came under Islamic law.

The Federal Sharia Court reversed the decision of the High Court and sentenced Hussain to death.

Mehmood Ahmed, an official at Adiala jail in Rawalpindi where Hussain is being held, said on Thursday: "We have received orders for a delay in the execution until 31 December 2006.

"We have informed him and he is happy."

I am hoping that President Musharraf will not send me to the gallows when he himself has expressed doubts
Mirza Tahir Hussain

Earlier, before the news of the stay of execution came through, Mr Hussain spoke to BBC's Asian Network from his prison cell.

"It is the 11th hour and I once again renew my heartfelt plea to President Musharraf to pardon me and reflect on my circumstances and sufferings when he leads the country in celebrating Eid.

"I am hoping that President Musharraf will not send me to the gallows when he himself has expressed doubts about the safety of my conviction."

Speaking about the incident which happened eighteen years ago in a remote area of Pakistan, he said: "It was not planned, it just happened."

'Mental torture'

He told police that taxi driver Jamshed Khan had tried to sexually assault him and pulled a gun, and that during a struggle the weapon went off and killed the driver.

"It is a time of forgiveness and kindness so I just ask Almighty Allah and the deceased's family and President Musharraf to pardon me."

Speaking on a mobile phone from the corner of his prison cell, he said: "I hope that the family of Jamshed Khan also find peace in this holy month of Ramadan."

A spokesman for the Prince of Wales said there were no plans for a further statement on the matter on Thursday.

Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West, said the continual delays were "mental torture" for Hussain's family.

"Whilst clearly it's of some relief that the execution will not go ahead on November 1, nevertheless it's disappointing that the Pakistani government has simply chosen to delay this rather than bringing this matter to a positive resolution," Mr Mulholland said.

"The continued cycle of stays of execution is real mental torture for his family and it's time that President Musharraf and the Pakistani authorities faced up to their responsibilities to overturn what is so clearly an unfair conviction."

video and audio news
Mirza Tahir Hussain's brother comments on the delay

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19 Oct 06 |  West Yorkshire
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12 Oct 06 |  West Yorkshire
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11 Oct 06 |  West Yorkshire


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