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22nd April 2021, 14:34:28 UTC

The health of Shafqat Emmanuel, who faces execution, along with his wife Shagufta Kausar, is rapidly deteriorating.

Shafqat’s lower body is paralyzed, which means he relies on the help of prison guards, which is not readily available, for mobility. He has multiple bed sores, which according to his lawyer, are not being given adequate treatment, and his pain is worsening every day. In March, his family alleges, he was in a coma for three days and was not taken to the hospital.

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 minimise 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.

The Christian couple were sentenced to death for sending ‘blasphemous’ texts to a mosque cleric and have consistently denied all allegations. Imprisoned since 2013, the couple were convicted and sentenced to death in April 2014.

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