Pakistani court refuses to halt execution of paraplegic man
highest court on Monday refused to halt the execution of the country’s first
known paraplegic death-row convict, a decision handed down one day before he’s
scheduled to be hanged at a high-security prison, according to a lawyer and an
international rights group.
Abdul Basit, 43, has
been paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair since contracting
meningitis in prison in 2010, said Sara Belal, a lawyer at the Justice Project
Pakistan legal aid group. He has been on death row since 2009 after being
convicted of murdering a man in a financial dispute in Punjab province.
The Supreme Court of
Pakistan rejected a plea to grant a stay of execution for Basit, according to
Belal and the human rights group Reprieve. Court officials could not be reached
for comment after hours Monday.
Basit’s mother Nusrat
Perveen told The Associated Press they met with him for the final time on
Monday at a jail in the city of Faisalabad and said their last hope was a
pardon from President Mamnoon Hussain.
“I beg to the president
to pardon my son,” she said. “My son was a healthy man but he became disabled
in jail.” Perveen said jail officials told her they will hang Basit before dawn
Tuesday. Basit’s lawyers had previously filed a petition arguing that hanging
him would constitute cruel and inhuman punishment.
urged Pakistan to halt Basit’s execution and called for a moratorium on all
executions in the country.
“Instead of debating
the logistics of how to put a man in a wheelchair to death, the authorities in
Pakistan should grant reprieve to Abdul Basit,” Sultana Noon, Amnesty
International’s Pakistan researcher, said in a statement. “This case has once
again drawn widespread attention to the cruelty of the relentless conveyer belt
of executions in Pakistan.”
According to the Human
Rights Commission of Pakistan, authorities have hanged 236 people after lifting
a 2008 moratorium on executions in December after a deadly Taliban attack on a
school in the northwestern city of Peshawar killed 150 people, mostly children.
But only one in 10 of
the 236 prisoners executed since December were convicted of a terror attack. Meanwhile,
Pakistan’s military in a statement Monday that military courts had handed down
death sentences to nine “hard core terrorists” who had killed civilians and