PAKISTAN. THOUSANDS AWAIT GALLOWS IN JAILS
August 2, 2006: more than 7,400 men and 36 women are waiting in 81 Pakistani jails to be hanged, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has confirmed.
In Punjab, the country's most populous province, more than 5,000 of its 53,000 prisoners face death. Many are serving their time confined to cells measuring just 10 sq metres. Intended for one prisoner, the cells often accommodate up to 10.
Pakistan retains capital punishment by hanging for a range of offences, including murder, drug smuggling, rape, attempted murder, kidnapping and acts of terrorism.
But the number of death sentences handed out annually far exceeds the number of hangings, meaning prisoners could remain in the terrible conditions on death row for up to 10 years, according to cases documented by the HRCP.
This year 253 people, including three women, have been sentenced to death, with 42 hanged. (Sources: IRIN, 02/08/2006)