Abdul Basit faces hanging in Pakistan, despite being paralyzed from the waist down.
Abdul Basit has been paralyzed from the waist down since contracting meningitis in jail. He did not receive proper treatment and now needs to use a wheelchair.
Despite the fact that he is not able to stand, he was due to be hanged in the early hours of Tuesday 22 September 2015. Reprieve has been working with our partner organisation Justice Project Pakistan on Basit’s case, and at the last minute the hanging was called off.
Basit’s family told our lawyers at Justice Project Pakistan that on the day of his planned execution, Basit was made to change into black clothes and had his hands and feet tied. He was about to be mounted onto the scaffold when prison officials announced that the execution would be stopped. After several hours of waiting it was confirmed that his hanging would not proceed that night.
“It is almost unimaginable that someone would be looking up at the hangman’s noose, about to be mounted on the gallows, before being told that they are in fact not set to die. Basit’s hanging would not only violate basic standards of decency but Pakistan’s obligations under international law. Basit’s execution must be stopped.”
Kate Higham, Reprieve caseworker for Abdul Basit
Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered that the hanging must comply with the prison rules – an impossible task because the rules do not provide for the hanging of people unable to stand as this would result in prolonged and horrific suffering.
“My son has already suffered a lot. He is half dead. It was all because of the jail authorities that he is disabled today. I appeal to Pakistan’s President for mercy. I am not educated but I know and I am sure this is not what Islam teaches – this is not what the law tells. Can’t they see that he has suffered for years? Who says that this is justice? How can they do this to a paralyzed man? Please have mercy on my son.”
Abdul’s mother’s pleas to the President to grant her son mercy