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Inspector General Mirza Shahid Saleem Baig
Inspectorate General of Prisons, Punjab
Link Jail Road, Shadman
Tel: +92 4299200498
Email: [email protected]
Dear Inspector General Mirza Shahid Saleem Baig,
I write to you to out of alarm for the sharp decline in health of death row prisoner Shafqat Emmanuel. Shafqat is completely paralyzed from the waist down and must rely on prison guards to perform the most basic tasks like leaving his bed and using the bathroom. Furthermore, as per the application submitted by his lawyer to the Inspector General of Prisons in Punjab, he has painful bed sores and needs urgent health care.
Currently held in Central Jail, Faisalabad I find it alarming that in March, according to his family, Shafqat was in a coma for three days and yet was still not provided adequate medical care. Shafqat and his wife Shagufta Kausar, were convicted of “blasphemy” and sentenced to death in 2014 for allegedly sending “blasphemous” text messages to a mosque cleric.
The couple should not be in jail at all, let alone at risk of execution. Pakistan’s blasphemy laws do not meet human rights law and standards, they lack essential safeguards to minimize the risk of rights violations and illustrate the dangers faced by the country’s religious minorities. The urgency with which the injustices in this case must be remedied is heightened by Shafqat’s pain and lack of access to appropriate health care.
I find it highly distressing that a prisoner who needs urgent health care is not being shifted to the jail hospital. He should not be detained in the first place, and if he is not going to be released, prison authorities must ensure provision of adequate health care whether it is available inside or outside the prison
Therefore, I strongly urge you to grant Shafqat prompt, regular and unrestricted access to adequate health care as necessary. In addition to that, him and his wife Shagufta should be immediately and unconditionally released. We call for the couple and their lawyer to be provided with adequate security upon their release.