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Pakistan’s prison laws rank far below international standards with human rights abuses taking place rampantly behind the country’s prison bars. As a former prisoner who was unjustly detained for ten years, Sohail has dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of prisoners and their families by monitoring human rights conditions in prisons and providing support to families in his role as a criminal investigator. He believes that the prison system should prepare detainees to re-enter society upon their release. He hopes to one day be able to start a healing centre in Pakistan for former detainees.

Human rights defenders like Sohail and government critics in Pakistan struggle in their work as they are often harassed or even prosecuted by the government. Sadly, impunity for violence and threats against those who strive for justice remain the norm. In carrying out his work, Sohail suffers from threats from those who do not agree with his decision to stand up for prisoners’ rights and advocate to end the death penalty. But this has not stopped Sohail from continuing his efforts as a defender.


“I want to be the voice of those who are not heard.”


Sohail stayed in Shelter City Zwolle in 2021 and used the opportunity to build a network with other organisations and individuals who believe in prisoners’ rights and ending the death penalty. Aside from sharing his experiences, he also utilised his time in the Netherlands by gaining knowledge on wellness and healing, which he hopes to be able to use when he starts his healing centre.

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