Pakistan

HRCP seeks PM’s intervention to stay execution of paraplegic prisoner

ISLAMABAD: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) wrote a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to halt the execution of a paraplegic death row prisoner detained in Faisalabad prison.

According to a release, HRCP in its letter to PM Nawaz Sharif highlighted that this was the third time that execution warrants had been issued for Abdul Basit who is suffering from paraplegia.

“He was first scheduled to be hanged on July 29, but the execution was stayed at the eleventh hour by the Lahore High Court, on a writ petition challenging the legality of his execution. On September 1, that petition was dismissed. A new warrant scheduling Basit’s execution for 22 September was subsequently issued, but execution was again stayed after the Supreme Court issued an order stating that the execution could proceed, but only in accordance with the Pakistan Prison Rules, which set out the procedure for carrying out executions. Unable to conduct the execution in a way that would not be a violation of the Rules, the jail authorities and the magistrate deputed to oversee the hanging, subsequently stayed the execution”, HRCP stated in its release.

Abdul Basit had contracted tubercular meningitis in 2010 which has left him paralysed from the waist down. Despite being unable to stand, and reliant on a wheelchair, he is scheduled to be hanged on Wednesday (November 25), HRCP added.

“HRCP chairperson noted that the prison authorities were still awaiting a response after writing to the federal government for guidance on how to proceed in the case”, the release read.

It was also mentioned that Abdul Basit’s mercy petition is still pending and on October 15 a letter was forwarded to Basit’s counsel from the Presidency, which requested the Ministry of Interior to consider the pending mercy petition, which it described as “self explanatory”.

The human rights commission’s chairperson stated that it is shocking that orders for Basit’s execution have been issued for a third time, despite the fact that concerns about the legality of his hanging remain as unsatisfied as ever and because he is simply not fit to be hanged.

“HRCP is of the view that the hanging of a wheelchair-bound prisoner simply cannot be conducted in a humane and dignified manner as required by Pakistani and international law. Proceeding with Abdul Basit’s execution in the circumstances will offend against all norms of civilized justice”, HRCP chairperson added.

HRCP urged the prime minister to issue orders that Abdul Basit’s execution was stayed and he was granted reprieve.

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