THE organised hanging of a paraplegic prisoner accused of murder in Pakistan has been delayed.
Abdul Basit is unable to be hanged because he does not meet the requirements of the prison manual as he is in a wheelchair. Pakistan’s prison guidelines ensure that a prisoner has to stand on the gallows.
There is speculation amongst rights groups that hanging Basit would be a cruel and degrading act.
Basit was convicted in 2009 for killing the uncle of a woman he was accused of having a liaison with, which he denies .The 43-year-old is paralysed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair after becoming ill in prison.
Campaigners state there is a danger that the hanging could go wrong and end up being a breach of the prisoner’s dignity – which is protected by Pakistani laws. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has urged the president to grant Basit a reprieve.
Pakistan reintroduced the death penalty in December 2014 and has hanged 239 people since then.
The government has stated that reintroducing the death penalty was a measure to conquer terrorism after the Taliban massacred more than 150 people, mostly children in a Peshawar school.
Pakistan has the world’s largest number of death row inmates, with more than 8,000 people reported to be awaiting execution, which makes it on course to have one of the highest rates of executions in the world.