Pakistan judge: heavily pregnant British woman “better off” in TB outbreak jail

August 16, 2012

Image of Khadija Shah

A judge in Pakistan has dismissed concerns that the continued imprisonment of a heavily pregnant British woman is endangering the health of her and her baby, claiming that she is “better off” in a prison which was this week hit by an outbreak of tuberculosis.

In a bail hearing today, Khadija Shah’s barrister pointed out that Adiala Jail, near Islamabad, had already seen two pregnant women suffer miscarriages this year – to which the judge responded, “that happens everywhere.

Khadija, who is from Birmingham, is due to give birth in mid-September but she has so far been denied bail. She has already been imprisoned for three months, accused of drugs offences for which she could face the death penalty.

Reprieve investigator Sultana Noon said: “The lack of concern for the health of Khadija and her baby is shocking. Although she is due to give birth in a month’s time, the authorities are still refusing to release her from Adiala prison, where conditions are dangerously unhygienic. Keeping her in prison under the present conditions is at odds with both domestic law and Pakistan’s international obligations.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. For further information, please contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 427 1082 / (0) 7791 755 415 / donald.campbell@reprieve.org.uk

2. Reports of Adiala Jail’s “unhygienic conditions” this week revealed that over 100 prisoners are now suffering from TB, following a recent outbreak: ‘TB cases rising among Adiala Jail inmates,’ The Nation, 14 August 2012: http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/islamabad/14-Aug-2012/tb-cases-rising-among-adiala-jail-inmates

3. Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives. Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.

Reprieve’s current casework involves representing 15 prisoners in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, assisting over 70 prisoners facing the death penalty around the world, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’ Follow Reprieve on twitter: @ReprieveUK; if you were forwarded this release, sign up to join our press mailing list.