ISLAMABAD: The Lahore High Court on Monday commuted the death sentence for a defendant who spent the last 18 years on death row for a crime he was convicted of committing when he was a juvenile, an advocacy group said.

The court reduced Mohammad Iqbal’s sentence to life in prison.

This is a landmark judgement that could set a precedent for future cases pertaining to juvenile offenders in the country, said Ali Haider Habib, a spokesman for the Justice Project Pakistan. Iqbal was found guilty of murder and robbery committed when he was just 17. He has been in jail since 1999 when an anti-terrorism court sentenced him to death, and on death row since March 2002.

Several human rights groups and United Nations special rapporteurs sent a letter to the Pakistani government in March seeking leniency, asking that Iqbal’s death sentence be commuted. The letter stated that he was charged with murder and robbery when he was just 17.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2020

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