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Pakistan president overrules Sharia court, commutes death sentence for UK man

[JURIST] Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf [official website, BBC profile] has overturned a ruling by a Sharia court for the first time [RTTNews report] by commuting the sentence of a man whom the court assigned the death penalty. Mirza Tahir Hussain [Wikipedia profile], a British national, was convicted under Sharia Islamic law [CFR backgrounder] after killing a taxi driver in 1989, which he claims was in self defense. While Hussain was originally acquitted by Pakistan's High Court in 1996, his case was subsequently referred to the Sharia court in 1998 and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2003. Reuters has more.

Musharraf commuted the sentence after UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, European politicians and groups such as Amnesty International lobbied [AI campaign] for Hussain to be pardoned. On Friday, one day after Musharraf's decision, Hussain was released from prison after efforts by British MEPs Sajjad Karim [Liberal Democrat Party story] and Edward McMillan-Scott. After spending 17 years in a Pakistani prison, Hussain will now return to Britain. BBC News has more.

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