A Pakistani man whose lawyers said was a child when charged with murder, and only confessed after being tortured, was handed a reprieve on Tuesday.
It happened just hours before he was due to be executed, the fourth time his death penalty has been stayed.
The Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), a human rights law firm representing Shafqat Hussain, said the Supreme Court in Islamabad would hear its appeal against an earlier court decision that rejected an inquiry into the case.
The Supreme Court adjourned the hearing until Wednesday.
It was the fourth time that Hussain, whose age is disputed, has had his death penalty postponed, and came hours before he was due to be hanged in the southern port city of Karachi.
A JPP spokesman said that Hussain would have been changed into white clothes and moved to a different part of the prison in preparation for his execution.
“Each time he has to say goodbye to his brothers, he has to go through this over and over again,’’ the spokesman said.
Hussain’s lawyers said he was just 14 in 2004 when he was burnt with cigarettes and had fingernails removed until he confessed to the killing of a child.
Meanwhile, the case has angered rights groups and prompted mercy appeals from his family.
The authorities also said that he was 23 when he was sentenced.
In addition to the legal appeal being heard in the Supreme Court, the JPP and one of Hussain’s brothers filed a 22-page appeal to President Mamnoon Hussain urging him to grant “permanent clemency or pardon from execution”.
According to the human rights group Reprieve, Hussain is one of over 8,000 people being held on death row in Pakistan, the largest number of any country.
According to the group, around 150 people have been executed in Pakistan since mid-December, when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lifted a moratorium on the death penalty.
His decision came a day after Taliban militants attacked a school killing over 130 pupils and 19 adults
A N200 million fund for the building of a modern school cafeteria as well as renovation and equipping of science laboratories is to be launched by the St. Anthony’s College, Ubulu-Uku Old Boys Association (SACOBA). The money will also go into building new modern hotels in the school.
The launching of the fund is part of the activities marking the 2015 Feast Day of SACOBA on Sunday, June 14 at Ubulu-Uku. St. Anthony’s College, Ubulu-Uku which will be 60 years old in 2016 and is designated as one of the model schools in Delta State has, however, not been renovated to match its status unlike its peers.
According to Mr. Anthony Uzogo, president of St. Anthony’s College Ubulu-Uku Old Boys Association, the Feast Day activities will begin with a church service at St. Charles Catholic Church, Ubulu-Uku followed by a reception and launching of the N200 million fund at the college premises.
“St. Anthony’s College, Ubulu-Uku was one of the best schools in the old Bendel State. In academics and sports, it was always in the top grade hence its designation as a model school in Delta State”, Uzogo said. “However, it has not been accorded the kind of attention needed to live up to that designation over the years. While we embark on this project as old boys of the school, we hope the government of Delta State will pay attention to upgrading facilities in the school just as its contemporaries have been enjoying over the years”, he stated.
Chief A. N. Izagbo, one-time Commissioner for Youth and Sport in Delta State, will chair the occasion while Mrs. J. E. Akinmoyewa, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Basic Education, Delta State will be special guest of honour. Among the distinguished old boys expected at the occasion are Sir Okey Ofili, former Head of Service in Delta State; Chief Austin Aduba, former Commissioner of Police, Delta State and His Lordship, Bishop Michael Odogwu Elue, Catholic Bishop of Issele-Uku diocese.