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For immediate release: Tue Nov 24, 2015
Pakistan govt stays execution of paraplegic man
The Pakistan government has stayed the exection of Abdul Basit, a paralysed man who had been set to hang at dawn tomorrow morning, according to his lawyers at Justice Project Pakistan (JPP)
Concerns had been raised that the exection of someone unable to stand would have been prolonged and inhumane. Over the weekend, it was reported that the Faisalabad prison where he is held had admitted that it had received no instructions on how it was meant to carry out the execution of the wheelchair user.
Basit has been paralysed from the waist down since contracting meningitis while in prison in 2010. The disease was not diagnosed for a month, and left him with severe spinal injuries.
The government is understood to have stayed Basit’s execution for two months.
Commenting, Sarah Belal, Basit’s lawyer and director of JPP said: “Although a last minute decision, this is a very welcome one. The government should be commended for recognising that to go ahead with it would have been needlessly cruel. Basit has already suffered terribly due to medical neglect while in prison – to hang him would neither serve justice nor make Pakistan any safer.”
Maya Foa, Director of the death penalty team at international human rights organisation Reprieve said: “This welcome move comes with only hours before a paralysed man was set to face a horrific execution. It has to be hoped that the Pakistan Government will now reconsider its rush to the gallows, which has seen an estimated 300 people hanged since December.” [emphasis added]
Notes to editors
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