Pakistan court rejects appeal of paraplegic convict on death row

The accused 43-year-old Abdul Basit is now set to be hanged in Faisalabad District Jail.

Lahore: A Pakistani court on Tuesday dismissed the appeal of a paraplegic man convicted of murder to stay his death sentence, clearing the decks for his execution tomorrow.

The accused 43-year-old Abdul Basit is now set to be hanged in Faisalabad District Jail.

With his impending hanging, the number of executions will touch 300 since the moratorium on the death penalty was lifted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif following the Pakistani Taliban's deadly attack on an army school in Peshawar last December that killed 150 people, mostly children.

Lahore High Court Judge Qazi Amin dismissed the appeal of Basit to stay his death warrant terming it "non-maintainable".

Basit who developed tuberculosis (TB) in 2010 in prison was handed down death sentence in 2009 for killing Asif Nadim.

Dismissing his appeal, the judge observed asking who would protect the "right of the victim".

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has appealed to Sharif to stay the execution of Basit.

In a letter to Sharif, the HRCP said it was the third time that execution warrants had been issued for Basit.

He was first scheduled to be hanged on July 29, but the execution was stayed at the eleventh hour by the Lahore High Court on a writ petition challenging the legality of his execution. On September 1, that petition was dismissed.

A new warrant scheduling Basit's execution for September 22 was subsequently issued, but execution was again stayed after the Supreme Court issued an order stating that the execution could proceed, but only in accordance with the Pakistan Prison Rules that set out the procedure for carrying out executions.

In 2010, while in jail, Basit contracted TB which left him paralysed from the waist down. Despite being unable to stand, and reliant on a wheelchair, he is set to be hanged tomorrow.

The HRCP said Basit's mercy petition is still pending and that the president had also requested the interior ministry to consider the pending mercy petition which it described as "self-explanatory".

"It is shocking that orders for Basit's execution have been issued for a third time despite the fact that concerns about the legality of his hanging remain as unsatisfied as ever and because he is simply not fit to be hanged," HRCP said.

"HRCP is of the view that the hanging of a wheelchair -bound prisoner simply cannot be conducted in a humane and dignified manner as required by Pakistani and international law. Proceeding with Abdul Basit's execution in the circumstances will offend against all norms of civilised justice," it said. 

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