Shafqat Hussain execution Pakistan
Shafqat Hussain's parents display a photograph of their son Getty Images

Right groups are urging the Pakistani government to halt the planned execution by hanging of 24-year-old Shafqat Hussain, scheduled for 19 March.

Hussain was arrested in 2004 and charged with kidnapping and involuntary manslaughter after he allegedly admitted to having abducted a seven-year-old boy.

However, his family, his lawyers and right groups have warned that Hussain made the confession after nine days of alleged torture in which, among other things, he was burned with cigarette butts and had his genitals electrocuted.

Hussain's current lawyers also said that he did not have a fair trial as the then state-appointed lawyer failed to call witnesses and introduce evidence of Hussain's innocence.

The UK-based NGO Reprieve, which offers free legal and investigative support to help some of the world's most vulnerable victims of human rights abuse, said that Hussain's trial was "a farce".

"Shafqat has now spent 11 years on death row in Pakistan. The only evidence against him was a forced confession made after nine days of severe torture," the NGO said. "Shafqat said he would have admitted 'that a deer was an elephant' by the time his torture was over."

Hussain's state-appointed lawyer was also accused of failing to bring up the fact that his death sentence was in breach of both domestic and international laws as Hussain was convicted when he was 14.

According to Pakistan's juvenile justice system, individuals cannot be executed for a crime they committed before they were 18. The planned execution is also in breach of two international treaties, the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights and the Convention of the Rights of the Child, of which Pakistan is signatory.

Hussain's family made a plea to the Pakistani government to spare his life.

"For God's sake don't deprive me of Shafqat, he is my last child. He is innocent," Reuters quoted his mother Makhani Begum as saying. "Oh, my Allah, save my Shafqat from falling victim to injustice."

Hussain's brother Manzoor said: "I request them, in the name of Allah, and in the name of humanity, to stop his execution."

Pakistan announced the execution of Hussain in January, after lifting a moratorium on the death penalty introduced in 2008, following the Peshawar school massacre in which Pakistani Taliban insurgents killed 150 people, including 134 children.

However, the execution was halted following international pressure and the promise by Pakistan's Interior Ministry to carry out an inquiry into Hussain's case.

However, the investigation has not been conducted and Pakistan is to hang Hussain amid international outrage.

"Since the moratorium was lifted in December there has been a killing spree in the country," Olof Blomqvist, spokesperson at Amnesty International, which is also campaigning to halt the execution, told IBTimes UK.

"It's extremely disturbing. Pakistan has one of the highest death row populations in the world and we are talking about thousands of lives at risk. It's quite shocking how the government seems intended on following through promises to send as many people to the gallons as possible," he continued.

"Hussain's case is a particularly worrying one because he was a juvenile at the time he committed this alleged crime and there is strong evidence that he was tortured. It's pretty clear there needs to be a new investigation.

"In the strongest possible way we urge the Pakistani government to halt the execution immediately, put in place a moratorium on all planned executions and review all cases of people sentenced to death."