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Alert Update: Mirza Tahir Hussain: Latest Developments

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IHRC urges all campaigners to keep up the tremendous work they have done thus far until Mirza is safely returned home to Britain.

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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20 June 2006

Alert Update: Mirza Tahir Hussain: Latest Developments


IHRC urges all campaigners to keep up the tremendous work they have done thus far until Mirza is safely returned home to Britain. Recent developments include the following:

• President Musharraf has appointed Chaudhry Shujhat Hussain (President of Pakistan Muslim League) and Mushahid Hussain (Secretary-General of Pakistan Muslim League) to negotiate with the family of the deceased.
• Senator Khalid Ranjha, Chairman of Senate Standing Committee on Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs (a body equal in status but more powerful than the House of Lords) and counsel for Mirza, has filed a fresh mercy petition which includes the following points:
- that Mirza was only 18 at the time of the alleged offence
- that the Federal Shariat Court had no power to enhance the sentence on the request of the private party
- that there was no consensus amongst the Shariat Court as one judge dissented. Although in common law the majority judgment is reckoned as the judgment of the court, in Islamic Law, if there is no consensus amongst the Court, the punishment of death cannot be awarded.
- that some of the judges of the Supreme Court (Shariat Bench) had retired before the writing of the judgment. In such an event, the case should have been reheard
- that the medical evidence used conflicts with the ocular account
- that Mirza Tahir Hussain has already served an estimated 37 years with remissions
• The Senate Standing Committee on Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs are strongly of the opinion that President Musharraf can reprieve, pardon, remit, suspend or commute any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or other authority. under Article 45 of the Constitution of Pakistan.
• A delegation consisting of MPs and representatives from the Hussain family, Islamic Human Rights Commission, Fair Trials Abroad, Reprieve, the Muslim Council of Britain, the Catholic Church held a meeting with the Pakistani High Commissioner Dr Maleeha Lodi on 14 June to make the case to release Mirza Hussain

IHRC congratulates all campaigners for their tireless efforts to release Mirza. IHRC urges all campaigners to now maximize their efforts to campaign for Mirza to secure his full release and return to Britain.
Updated sample letters may be found below for your convenience.


Action Required

a. Write to the Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett.

Rt. Hon. Margaret Beckett MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH

Tel.: +44 020 7008 1500
Fax: +44 20 7839 2417
Email private.office@fco.gov.uk

b. Contact your MP to sign Early Day Motion No. 2081 tabled by John Battle MP urging the British government to petition the President of Pakistan to prevent Mirza's execution.

For contact details of who your MP is and where to write to them, visit www.writetothem.com

Alternatively, call the House of Commons switchboard on 020 7219 3000 and ask for your MP's office

c. Write to the President Musharraf of Pakistan.

President
General Pervez Musharraf
Pakistan Secretariat,
Islamabad,
Pakistan
Fax: 00 92 51 9221422
E-mail: via the president\'s website: http://www.presidentofpakistan.gov.pk/WTPresidentMessage.aspx

Please send copies of your appeals to the Pakistani High Commissioner in Britain, Dr Maleeha Lodi.

H.E. Dr Maleeha Lodi
High Commissioner for Pakistan
Pakistan High Commission
34-36 Lowndes Square
London, SW1X 9JN

Fax. 020 7664 9224
Email: pareplondon@supanet.com

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Sample Letter to Margaret Beckett

[Your Name]
[Your Address]



[Date]

Rt. Hon. Margaret Beckett MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH


Dear Ms Beckett,

Re: Imminent Execution of British Citizen in Pakistan

I am writing to request that you act urgently to prevent the imminent execution of British citizen Mirza Tahir Hussain in Pakistan. Mirza has been on death row in Pakistan for 18 years and was due to be executed on 3 June 2006. He has now been given a reprieve until 3 July 2006 and there is still a substantial danger of him being executed any time after this.

I appreciate that you have recently written to President Musharraf about this case and I am grateful for your efforts. However, I request you to intensify your efforts to guarantee that Mirza will be not only granted an indefinite stay of execution but also released from prison and allowed return to Britain. Under Article 45 of the Constitution of Pakistan, President Musharraf has the power to commute the sentence and has indeed used such a power on many occasions in the past including the he commutation of the sentences in 2000 of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and in 1998 of Parminder Singh Saini who hijacked an airliner from India to Pakistan.

As you are aware, Mirza is a British citizen who served in the Territorial Army and was prepared to give his life for Britain. It is wholly unjustified that the British government should allow him to fester away in a prison in Pakistan for a crime of which he is innocent. He has already lost half of his life in prison.

I appeal to you and Prime Minister Blair to personally intervene further to ensure Mirza is allowed live the remainder of his life in freedom.


I look forward to hearing from you soon on this urgent matter.


Yours Sincerely,


[Your Signature]

[Your Name]

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Sample Letter to MP

[Your Name]
[Your Address]



[Date]

[Your MP]
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA


Dear [Your MP]

Re: Imminent Execution of British Citizen in Pakistan

As a member of your constituency, I am writing to request that you act urgently to prevent the imminent execution of British citizen Mirza Tahir Hussain in Pakistan. Mirza has been on death row in Pakistan for 18 years and is due to be executed on 3 July 2006.

In December 1988, at the age of 18, Mirza travelled to Pakistan to visit family. He stayed for one night with his aunt in Karachi before travelling onwards to Rawalpindi in the evening from where he took a taxi to his village Bhubar. According to Mirza, someway through the journey, the driver stopped the car and tried to physically and sexually assault Mirza. The driver took out a pistol and in the scuffle that ensued, the pistol went off and hit the driver who ultimately died of his wounds.

Mirza drove the taxi to the first police station he could find and handed them the pistol. He was subsequently arrested, tried and convicted of murder. Despite the High Court acquitting Mirza of all offences and charges against him in May 1996, the Federal Shariat court re-tried the case, reversed the decision of the High Court and awarded him the death penalty, ignoring the numerous discrepancies in the case. The judgment was affirmed by the Supreme Court.

This is a huge miscarriage of justice – Mirza is a British citizen who has spent the last 18 years in a Pakistani jail for a crime he did not commit. He completed his secondary education in Britain and also joined the British Territorial Army. The case against him is ludicrous and the British government must do all in its power to stop the execution and ensure that Mirza is returned to the UK as soon as possible.

During his time in prison, Mirza has also passed his matriculation, FA and BA Part 1 exams, and has shown intent of taking up higher-education and studying law. Neither Mirza nor his family both in Pakistan and the UK have any previous criminal convictions or involvement in criminal activities of any kind.

I urge you to write to the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary and ensure that Mirza is not executed and that he is allowed return to his home in the UK and rebuild his shattered life. Under Article 45 of the Constitution of Pakistan, President Musharraf has the power to commute the sentence and has indeed used such a power on many occasions in the past including the commutation of the sentences in 2000 of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and in 1998 of Parminder Singh Saini who hijacked an airliner from India to Pakistan.

I also would like you to sign EDM 2081 tabled by John Battle MP urging the government to petition the President of Pakistan to prevent Mirza's execution.

Thank you for your time. I will be contacting you shortly to confirm receipt of my letter. I look forward to hearing from you soon on this urgent matter.


Yours Sincerely,


[Your Signature]

[Your Name]

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Sample Letter to President Musharraf


[Your Name]
[Your Address]



[Date]

President
General Pervez Musharraf
Pakistan Secretariat,
Islamabad,
Pakistan


Dear President Musharraf:

Re: Imminent Execution of British Citizen in Pakistan

I am writing to request that you use your powers under Article 45 of the Constitution of Pakistan to commute the death sentence of Mirza Tahir Hussain, a British citizen who has been on death row in Pakistan for 18 years and is due to be executed on 3 July 2006.

This case is a clear miscarriage of justice which has destroyed the life of a naïve young man. In December 1988, at the age of 18, Mirza travelled to Pakistan to visit family. He stayed for one night with his aunt in Karachi before travelling onwards to Rawalpindi in the evening from where he took a taxi to his village Bhubar.Mirza states that, someway through the journey, the driver stopped the car and tried to physically and sexually assault Mirza. The driver took out a pistol and in the scuffle that ensued, the pistol went off and hit the driver who ultimately died of his wounds.

Mirza drove the taxi to the first police station he could find and handed them the pistol. He was subsequently arrested, tried and convicted of murder. Despite the High Court acquitting Mirza of all offences and charges against him in May 1996, the Federal Shariat court re-tried the case, reversed the decision of the High Court and awarded him the death penalty. The judgment was affirmed by the Supreme Court.

This is a huge travesty of justice – Mirza has spent the last 18 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. The case against him is ludicrous. Even the dissenting judge in the Federal Shariat Court strongly recommended that Mirza be acquitted due to the lack of witnesses and a confession.

Neither Mirza nor his family both in Pakistan and the UK have any previous criminal convictions or involvement in criminal activities of any kind.

I urge you to make use your Constitutional powers to grant Mirza clemency and allow him to return to his home in the UK and rebuild his shattered life. I believe that you have used such a power on many occasions in the past including the commutation of the sentences in 2000 of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and in 1998 of Parminder Singh Saini who hijacked an airliner from India to Pakistan.


I look forward to hearing from you soon on this urgent matter.


Yours Sincerely,


[Your Name]



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Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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