PAKISTAN: Rubina’s life still in danger


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-27-2001
ISSUES: Police violence,

Dear Friends 

This is a matter which requires your immediate attention and action. 

We have discovered with dismay that despite a previous Supreme Court stay of execution on the young Pakistani mother Robina Khan (also known as Rubina Ansari), the sentence may still go ahead. President Musharraf has apparently stated that the sentence could be commuted on the proviso that the family of Ms. Hajjan Aziz Begun, aged 70, (who was allegedly murdered by Ms. Rubina in the case) accepted the reduction in sentence. 

It is now evident that the death sentence may go ahead as early as tomorrow, unless the President issues an unconditional commution of the death sentence on Ms. Khan. 

In our earlier appeal to you we explained that Ms. Rubina is a young mother who, due to lack of finances and education, did not have access to adequate legal assistance. She was pregnant at the time of her arrest and miscarried the baby due to suspected torture during detention which Pakistani rights groups are claiming included electric shocks applied by the police. 


Since then, Amnesty International have stated that Ms. Rubina (who was 22 at the time of her arrest, and is now 24) “was sentenced to death on a murder charge after pre-trial and trial procedures which appear to have fallen short of international standards.” All the evidence in the case was circumstancial, and no evidence was provided to demonstrate that Ms. Rubina was at the scene of the murder. There were no defence witnesses – the trial was held in an anti-terrorism court set up to circumvent normal court procedures for ‘state security’ issues. Also, in November 1999 the Lahore High Court turned down Ms. Rubina’s appeal in just 30 minutes and she was not informed until too late that she was able to appeal to the Supreme Court. Clearly the lack of access to proper legal defence due to her financial situation, as well as her own illiteracy have prevented her from defending herself to any reasonable degree. 

The family of the victim have come under a lot of pressure regarding the case, and have wavered backwards and forwards about whether to agree to commute the execution. AHRC believes that relying on the whim of the family should not be the way to determine whether a life should be taken. The serious faults in the justice procedures, the lack of evidence, the suspected police brutality and the lack of access to proper legal defence should be enough reason for the Chief Executive of Pakistan to issue an unconditional commution of Ms. Rubina’s sentence. 


Please quickly send a fax and/or email to President Musharraf asking him to unconditionally commute the death sentence of Ms. Rubina Ansari, giving the extenuating circumstances that: 
– she is poor and illiterate and was unable to properly defend herself 
– she was tried in a terrorist court for a non-terrorist offence based on circumstantial evidence. 
– she is a young mother, and would leave her daughter a virtual orphan 
– there is reason to believe she has suffered severe torture (a claim which is yet to be investigated by the government, police or courts). 
– major human rights bodies within Pakistan and internationally have grave problems with the trial and sentencing procedures. 


General Pervez Musharraf 
Chief Executive of Pakistan 
Islamabad, PAKISTAN 
FAX: +92 051 920-1893/1835 or 4632 
Salutation: Dear General Musharraf

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-27-2001
Countries : Pakistan,
Issues : Police violence,