Monday, November 19, 2012

Death Sentences for drug offences in Pakistan have tripled since 2009

According to a new report launched today Pakistan saw a threefold increase in death sentences handed down for drug offences between 2009 and 2011. The report's findings will raise concern for British national Khadija Shah who is currently facing the death penalty in Pakistan where she is imprisoned with her newborn baby.

The release of Death Penalty for Drug Offences, Global Overview 2012 comes on the heels of Pakistan’s first execution in four years despite a moratorium in the country.

The report, launched today by Harm Reduction International at the House of Lords, highlights those countries which are going against the trend towards global abolition.

In Iran, more than 540 people were executed for drugs in 2011. This figure is five times more than were executed in 2008. Executions for drug offences have also increased in Saudi Arabia where at least sixteen people were executed for drug offences in the first six months of 2012, compared with one person in 2011.

Ms Shah, from Birmingham, was arrested earlier this year while heavily pregnant. On September 15th, 2012, she gave birth but was back in prison just days later, along with baby Malaika. Mother and daughter are currently imprisoned in Adiala jail which was recently hit by an outbreak of tuberculosis.

Baby Malaika is covered in mosquito bites and has so far had none of her immunisations. She was taken to hospital when she was just a few days old because of severe diarrhoea. She is having none of the standard post-natal care that is her due.

Reprieve investigator, Maya Foa, said: Khadija Shah is an extremely vulnerable young woman. Imprisoned in the infamous Adiala jail in Pakistan, facing a possible death sentence, Khadija’s life – as well as that of her newborn baby – is seriously at risk. It’s a terrible situation – and one that the British govt has helped to create. They must now do all in their power to save Khadija’s life and help her baby girl.

Source: Reprieve, November 19, 2012