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Pakistan Stays Execution Of Juvenile Killer For Fourth Time

For the fourth time, Pakistani authorities have stayed the execution of a man convicted of killing a 7-year-old when he himself was only 14 years old.

Liaquat Khoso, an official at Karachi Central Jail, said the Supreme Court approved an order to stay Shafqat Hussain's execution just hours before he was scheduled to hang.

The Supreme Court scheduled an urgent hearing by a three-judge panel headed by the chief justice in the case.

Hussain's family and lawyers say he was tortured into confessing the killing.

Hussain's is the most high-profile execution case since the government lifted a moratorium on the death penalty.

His execution was stayed three previous times after an intense public outcry and condemnation from human rights groups.

Human rights groups came out in force again this time.

"His conviction was a clear violation of Pakistan's juvenile laws, which do not permit executions for crimes committed before 18 years of age," said Sarah Belal of Justice Project Pakistan.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa

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