Rights group urges Afridi’s hospitalisation
PESHAWAR: French media rights group Reporters Sans Frontičres (RSF) on Friday called for the immediate transfer to hospital of Rehmat Shah Afridi, The Frontier Post editor, who is in Lahore jail awaiting execution.
It urged Punjab Governor Khalid Maqbool to ensure “proper medical care” for the journalist, who has been deprived of medicine for serious heart trouble and reportedly lost a lot of weight, RSF said in a statement released to media from Paris.
The French organisation reiterated that his death sentence for supposed possession and trafficking of drugs was a “trumped-up charge” aimed at “silencing the two newspapers”. The Anti-Narcotics Force arrested Mr Afridi, who is appealing against the sentence, on April 2, 1999 with allegedly “drugs” and on June 27, 2001, a special court condemned him to death on two counts.
Mr Afridi called his conviction as “part of revenge” by the army-run Anti-Narcotics Force, which is funded by the United States. His two papers frequently exposed corruption, drug trafficking and illegal arms sales. After his arrest, he was tortured and sent to death row in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat prison. He also has back problem and until recently did not have a mattress despite being kept in his cell round the clock. His family recently asked the Punjab home affairs minister to allow him to have medical treatment. The minister said he would send him to hospital specialising in cardiology, but this has not been done. —Staff Report