A paraplegic man is facing the prospect of being hanged by prison officials in Pakistan from his wheelchair as he is unable to mount the scaffold.
Well, sorta, he’s not going to be hung from his wheelchair, but hung while in it.
Abdul Basit, 43, was convicted of murder in 2009 but developed tuberculosis one year later, leaving him paralysed from the waist down.
A “Black Warrant” was issued for his execution on July 29 but appeals from Basit’s legal team led to a stay of execution.
They now await a final hearing on August 25 which will decide whether to go ahead with the procedure.
It means that prison officials are grappling with the conundrum of how much rope is required to hang a man who cannot support his own body weight.
Basit’s lawyers at Justice Project Pakistan have issued an urgent mercy appeal to Pakistan’s president, Mamnoon Hussain, claiming that hanging a wheelchair-bound person is in breach of its own prison regulations.
“Given that the condemned prisoner is unable to use his lower body to support his own weight and unable to stand, it is not possible to accurately measure the length of rope required for his hanging,” they wrote.
“Consequently, no provision can be safely made for the accurate measurement of the rope that would hang him and to proceed with an inaccurately-measured length of rope would place him at risk of an appalling death.”
So, how would anyone do it? Doesn’t sound beyond the wit of man really, weight the wheelchair without him in it, weigh it with him in it and subtract. And make sure to get it right: the aim is to break the neck in a long drop hanging, not either rip the head off nor strangle him.
But putting aside the logistics of this, see what this tells us about conditions in Pakistani prisons……they allow TB to advance to the point of paralysis?