Indonesia asked to pardon Pakistani convict

Islamabad—A rights group urged government on Monday to try to halt the execution of a Pakistani drug convict in Indonesia after his family was notified he would soon face a firing squad.
Zulfiqar Ali, 52, was transferred Monday to Nusakambangan prison island off Java where executions take place, and Indonesian authorities have told Pakistani officials his execution is imminent. Rights groups including Amnesty International have expressed serious concerns about Ali’s conviction, alleging it arose out of beatings and torture and he did not have a fair trial.
Maryam Haq, legal director at the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), said: “He was tortured relentlessly and deprived of his most basic legal rights. “Given that there is stronger evidence to support his innocence than guilt, it is now time for the President of Pakistan to appeal to our Muslim allies and save an innocent Pakistani’s life.”
Pakistan’s deputy ambassador in Jakarta, Syed Zahid Raza, said earlier on Monday his embassy has “approached all the concerned high officials to convince them that it was not a fair trial”.
Rights groups have claimed Ali, sentenced to death in 2005 for heroin possession, was beaten into confessing.
Amnesty said Ali, a father of six, was arrested at his home in West Java province on November 21, 2004, and charged with possession of 300 grams of heroin.
He was not allowed access to a lawyer until about one month after his arrest, the group said in a statement in May. —AFP

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