Pakistani mother seeks pardon for paralyzed son on death row

AP News
Posted: Apr 25, 2016 12:56 PM

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The mother of a paraplegic inmate on death row in Pakistan on Monday urged the country's president to pardon her son.

Nusrat Perveen said that President Mamnoon Hussain had ordered authorities to halt the execution of her son Abdul Basit in January, hours before he was to be hanged; that stay of execution order has now expired.

After meeting Basit at a prison in the city of Faisalabad, Perveen told The Associated Press that her son had lost a lot of weight and looked skeletal.

"I wept and cried on seeing him in fragile health," she said. "My son is like a dead man already, do they want to hang a dead man?"

Basit, 43, has been paralyzed from the waist down since contracting meningitis in prison in 2010 and uses a wheelchair.

He has been on death row since 2009, convicted of murdering a man in a financial dispute.

Jail officials said they were initiating a new process to obtain a death warrant to execute Basit.

Pakistan's Supreme Court last year said Basit's execution must comply with the country's prison rules governing execution procedures. However those rules contain no provisions for the hanging of prisoners in wheelchairs.

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Maya Foa, a director at the anti-death penalty NGO Reprieve, expressed concern that Pakistani authorities were gearing up to try and execute Basit.

Foa said in a statement that the government has still given no explanation of how it plans to avoid a "horribly botched execution."

She said the international community must urgently call on Hussain to halt "this cruel spectacle."