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Alert Update: Mirza Tahir Hussain: British Muslim Facing Execution in Pakistan

11 May 2006

Latest developments regarding the British Muslim Mirza Tahir Hussain who is facing execution in Pakistan.

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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10 May 2006

Alert Update: Mirza Tahir Hussain: British Muslim Facing Execution in Pakistan

There have been a few developments in the campaign to halt the execution of Mirza Tahir Hussain, a British Citizen facing execution in Pakistan, and have him released back to Britain.

ï John Battle MP has tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament urging the British government to petition the President of Pakistan to prevent Mirzaís execution. Please ask your MP to sign this motion. The EDM can be read at http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=30585&SESSION=875
ï The Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK, Dr Maleeha Lodi, has been in contact with Islamabad regarding the campaign
ï Many organisations and individuals have also joined the campaign. These include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reprieve, Fair Trials Abroad, Lord Nazir Ahmed, John Battle MP, Greg Mulholland MP, and Sajjad Karim MEP..
ï Mirzaís case has been reported in the national media (BBC Radio Five Live, BBC Radio Asia, the Guardian Online), Regional media (ITN Yorkshire, BBC Radio Leeds, the Yorkshire Post, Leeds Today) and the Islam Channel.

This is only the first stage and pressure must be maintained on MPs, the new Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, and the Pakistani government to ensure Mirza is spared execution and released back to Britain.

Background information on Mirzaís case and sample letters may be found below for your convenience.

1. Background

Mirza Tahir Hussain is a British Muslim from Leeds who has been on death row in Pakistan for 18 years. He is due to be executed on 3 June 2006.

Mirza is a dual national of both Pakistani and British citizenship. On 16 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 from where he intended to travel to his village Bhubar in District Chakwal.

Mirza arrived in Rawalpindi in the evening time. No taxi driver was willing to take him to Bhubar. One taxi driver asked him where he came from and Mirza told him he came from London. He agreed to bring him for a fare of 500 rupees. 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. He was given the death penalty by the Session Court. Upon appeal, the High Court, the judgment was dismissed due to serious discrepancies in the prosecutionís case and the case was sent back to the lower court for re-trial, where he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. After appealing again to the High Court, Mirza was acquitted of all offences and charges against him on 20 May 1996.

However, a week later it was argued that some of the alleged offences, namely highway robbery after dusk, lay within the jurisdiction of the Shariíah and so the case was referred to the Federal Shariat Court with the High Court withdrawing its jurisdiction. The Shariat court, despite observing that there was no highway robbery in this case as the taxi was hired, reversed the decision of the High Court and awarded him the death penalty. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment. Mirza was due to be executed on 3 May but has been granted a stay of execution until 3 June 2006.

This is a huge miscarriage of justice ñ 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 full education in Britain and also joined the British Territorial Army. He was only in Pakistan for one day during which time we are expected to believe he decided to get hold of a pistol and rob the first taxi he found. And if he did intend to rob and murder a driver, why did he go to the police station? 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.

Mirza should be released immediately and allowed return to his home in Britain to rebuild his shattered life.

2. Action Required

a. Write to the Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and express your concerns to him as to why a British citizen can be treated so unjustly without any objection from the government and ask him to approach the Pakistani authorities to release Mirza .

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 Mirzaís 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 MPís office

c. Write to the Pakistani High Commissioner in Britain Dr Maleeha Lodi requesting her to intercede on Mirzaís behalf in this clear miscarriage if justice.

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 is due to be executed on 3 June 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. 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 miscarriage of justice ñ 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.

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 1 June 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. 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 miscarriage of justice ñ 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. 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 Mirzaís 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 Dr Maleeha Lodi


[Your Name]
[Your Address]



[Date]

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


Dear Dr Lodi:

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 is due to be executed on 1 June 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. 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 miscarriage of justice ñ 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 make representations to President Musharraf to ensure that Mirza is not executed and that he is allowed return to his home in the UK and rebuild his shattered life.

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


Yours Sincerely,






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ìAnd what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper.î

Holy Qurían: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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