LAHORE, Pakistan, Sept. 22 (UPI) — The Pakistani government Monday delayed the execution of a paraplegic man on the grounds that he cannot stand on the gallows.
Abdul Basit, 43, tied to a wheelchair, was to be hanged in jail after the Pakistani government reintroduced the death penalty in December 2014. A Pakistani magistrate postponed his execution, though, since Basit became ill while in prison and has been paralyzed from the waist down.
The question is one of the prisoner’s dignity, which is protected by Pakistani law. Critics say this would be breached were the execution to go forward since Basit cannot stand on the gallows.
Basit was initially scheduled to be hanged in Lahore in August. No time limit has been publicized in regard to the latest postponement, and Basit’s mercy petition to the Pakistani president, filed July 22, was pending.
The next move in Basit’s case rests with the provincial government of Punjab.
Basit was convicted and jailed in 2009 for killing the uncle of a woman with whom he was allegedly having a relationship. In 2010, Basit contracted tuberculuar meningitis, which led to a coma for several weeks and paralysis from the waist down. Basit still denies involvement in the murder.
The BBC says rights groups and his lawyers claim Basit’s hanging would constitute cruel and degrading punishment.