LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Monday directed Faisalabad jail officials to explain procedure for hanging disabled convicts as Pakistan’s Jail Manual provides no instructions to this effect.

A division bench headed by Justice Muhammad Anwarul Haq was hearing a petition against execution of a ‘paralysed’ condemned prisoner, Abdul Basit. His hanging had already been stayed by the court.

Barrister Sarah Belal, representing the convict, argued that execution of a paralysed convict would be cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment that was prohibited under Islamic and international laws.

She told the bench that Basit was paralysed down the waist and used a wheelchair because of an illness he contracted while in prison, and he did not receive adequate treatment for the crippling ailment.

The lawyer contended that the convict had already suffered unusual punishment, and to try to execute him now would be a form of “double punishment”.

Basit, 43, was convicted and sentenced to death for killing Asif Nadeem of Okara in 2009.

Counsel for the complainant of the murder case opposed the petition and said all medical reports showing the convict disabled were fabricated.

The bench observed that declaring a convict fit or unfit for execution was duty of jail doctor, however, the court wanted to know the procedure adopted for hanging a disabled man, if authorities were allowed to implement the execution.

The bench adjourned hearing till Tuesday (today).

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2015

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