London, July 29, 2015 (PPI-OT): The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) has published a report on the unprecedented escalation in Pakistan’s use of the death penalty. Pakistan abandoned its six year moratorium on the death penalty last year in reaction to the terrorist attack at a school in Peshawar. The report coincides with the resumption of executions following a pause during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Despite the Government’s claims, few of those being hanged have actually been convicted on terrorism related charges.
Alarmingly, a prisoner due to be hanged imminently is a severely disabled man. Abdul Basit developed Tuberculosis Meningitis whilst in detention and, without immediate diagnosis or treatment, became paralysed from the abdomen down. Abdul’s family submitted a mercy petition on his behalf in 2013 on the grounds of ill-health and disability but the petition was dismissed. BHRC welcomes the recent decision of the Lahore High Court to stay the execution pending an examination of the legality of the intended execution.
“The Government of Pakistan should halt all executions pending a full and impartial evaluation of the cases of all condemned persons,” said BHRC Chair, Kirsty Brimelow QC, “according to international law, countries that continue to use the death penalty may only impose the sentence for the most serious of crimes and only after all guarantees of fair trial rights have been respected. Restoring law and order in any country will not be achieved through the imposition of arbitrary and draconian punishments.”
For more information, contact:
Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC)
Doughty Street Chambers
53-54 Doughty Street, London
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7404 1313 ext. 359
Mobile: +44 (0) 7854 197862