Pakistani authorities

Hearing Monday to decide fate of Pakistani paraplegic on death row

A court hearing in Pakistan tomorrow (31st) could decide whether the government should be allowed to execute a severely disabled man.
Abdul Basit, 43, was convicted and sentenced to death for murder in 2009. In 2010, he contracted tubercular meningitis in prison, which left him paralyzed from the waist down. A Government-appointed medical board recently confirmed that Basit has no use of his lower limbs and is “bed bound with urinary and fecal incontinence.” Despite being unable to stand, and reliant on a wheelchair, the Pakistani authorities have issued a ‘Black Warrant’ for his execution – part of a wave of hangings in Pakistan that has seen over 200 prisoners killed since December 2014.
At a hearing in July, the Lahore High Court ordered a stay of execution for Basit, after his lawyers argued that his execution would constitute cruel and unusual punishment – violating the fundamental right to human dignity enshrined in Pakistan’s Constitution. Tomorrow’s hearing will decide whether the stay should be extended, or whether the Pakistani authorities should be permitted to execute Basit. There are no provisions for the execution of disabled prisoners in Pakistan’s execution protocol.
Pakistan has the largest death row in the world, at over 8,000 prisoners. The government has claimed that the hangings are necessary to deter ‘terrorists’, but recent reports have revealed that the vast majority of those already executed had no links to terrorism.
Commenting, Kate Higham, Pakistan caseworker at Reprieve, said: “There has, quite rightly, been an outcry at the Pakistani authorities’ insistence on hanging a severely disabled man. It is appalling that the government is trying to push through its plans to kill Basit, when the only result would be a grotesque, cruel spectacle – and the pointless loss of yet another life. It’s to be hoped that the court puts a halt to these grisly plans – but the international community must also step in and urge Pakistan to end this terrible wave of executions.”
Source: Reprieve, August 30, 2015



Mentally ill man to be hanged in Pakistan’s first post-Ramadan executions

July 23, 2015

The Pakistani authorities have handed a death warrant to a mentally ill man, in what will be one of the first executions in the country since hangings were paused for Ramadan.
A so-called ‘Black Warrant’ handed down this morning confirms a new date of next Tuesday (28th) for the hanging of Khizar Hayat, a former police officer sentenced to death for murder in 2003. Khizar has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and has been held in the prison’s hospital since 2012 because of his worsening psychiatric state. In June this year, the Lahore High Court stayed an initial plan to execute Khizar after seeing jail records documenting his severe mental illness, including comments from doctors that “he is suffering from active symptoms of severe psychosis”.
After meeting with Khizar just hours before his planned hanging in June, his mother reported that he had no idea that he was about to be executed, believing instead that he would soon be taken home. Despite this, jail authorities have insisted that he can be executed, claiming that he has “somewhat orientation in time place and person”. Under Pakistani and international law, mentally ill people cannot be executed.
Pakistani authorities have hanged some 180 people since resuming executions in December 2014, but refrained from carrying out further killings and handing down death warrants during Ramadan. If Khizar’s execution goes ahead, it would be one of the first hangings in Pakistan since the end of the Muslim holy month.
Commenting, Maya Foa, a director at international human rights organization Reprieve, said: “Khizar Hayat is suffering from such severe mental illness that he has had to be confined to a hospital cell, away from other prisoners, for the last three years. Acutely psychotic, with a limited grasp on reality, Khizar has no idea what’s happening to him – or why the Pakistani authorities are so keen to see him hanged. To execute Khizar would be an act of gross inhumanity, as well as a serious violation of Pakistani and international law, which prohibits the execution of the mentally ill. The government must stay the execution without delay.”
Source: Reprieve, July 23, 2015