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Activist asks court to reduce sentence from travel ban to execution

Activist asks court to reduce sentence from travel ban to execution image

A man who was barred from travel and placed under house arrest due to his political activism has appealed his sentence on humanitarian grounds, calling on the nation’s highest court to show mercy and sentence him to death instead.

A lawyer for defendant Maan Bakraj decried what he described as a cruel and unusual punishment by the lower court in irrevocably banning his client from leaving the homeland.

“Your honor, my client does not even have the money to travel at the moment,” he said. “Please do not deny him the hope of leaving one day, even if it is to the afterlife.”

The lawyer said the current sentence would mean no employer would ever hire Bakraj, consigning his children to a lifetime of poverty and begging in the streets, whereas a death sentence would make them orphans and unlock aid by do-gooders and charitable organisations.

But a judicial source said the appeal had little chance of succeeding.

“His crime warranted the severest punishment that exists,” the source said. “Had he been a rapist or murderer we might have sentenced him to death and then included him in an amnesty, but now he must die a little every day.”