Lawyers for Mohammad Asghar file emergency application to keep him in hospital

September 30, 2014

Lawyers for mentally-ill Briton Mohammad Asghar, who was last week shot in prison in Pakistan, have today filed an emergency application requesting that plans to move him from hospital back to Adiala jail be stayed to ensure his safety.

It was revealed yesterday that plans are underway to return 70-year-old Mr Asghar, who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, to the same prison in which he was shot by a prison guard. His lawyers filed the application today asking that the court rule he be kept in hospital where he is at a reduced risk of further attack and can be treated for his injuries and mental illness.

The emergency application comes as legal charity Reprieve reveals details of Mr Asghar’s worsening health. Following surgery to treat injuries from his shooting Mr Asghar, who is currently in the Intensive Care Unit, has developed a high fever overnight and a chest infection that may be spreading to his left lung. Doctors have recommended that he be kept in hospital for close observation and treatment for a further 72 hours.

David Cameron has previously expressed concern over the case but Mr Asghar’s family and legal charity Reprieve are calling on the British Government to do more to ensure that his life is not put at further risk.

Mr Asghar, who was sentenced to death earlier this year on ‘blasphemy’ charges, was shot in the back at around 830am on Thursday morning and subsequently taken to hospital where he received surgery. He is currently being kept in the Intensive Care Unit.

Since Mr Asghar’s sentencing earlier this year, his lawyers at Reprieve and family had regularly warned the authorities that his life was at risk in Adiala prison, where last week’s shooting took place. People accused or convicted of blasphemy in Pakistan face a high level of risk from attacks by religious extremists.

Maya Foa, Director of Reprieve’s Death Penalty Team, said: “Mr Asghar has suffered a near fatal attack at the hands of the people who were supposed to protect his security. He is currently in hospital being treated for the injuries he sustained and for his severe mental illness, which has been exacerbated by the recent attempt at this life. It is unthinkable that Mr Asghar should be removed from the hospital – let alone be taken back to the very prison where he was attacked. David Cameron must step in and protect the life of this vulnerable British citizen without delay.”