Trial hearing for British mother imprisoned with newborn baby

By agency reporter
October 31, 2012

A British woman facing the death penalty in Pakistan, who is being held in jail along with her newborn baby girl, is due to appear in court tomorrow (1 November).

Khadija Shah is being held in prison on drugs charges and has so far been denied bail despite the fact that she was heavily pregnant when arrested and has since given birth. If convicted Khadija could face the death penalty. Baby Malaika is being held behind bars with her mother despite grave fears for her health in the unsanitary conditions at the notorious Adiala jail.

Khadija, from Birmingham, was arrested and initially held with her two other children who have since returned home. On September 15th she gave birth to Malaika but was returned to prison jail just days later.

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.

Clive Stafford Smith, director of the legal charity Reprieve, said: “Obviously Khadija should be presumed innocent, and she insists that she is. But if there is one thing that is abundantly clear, it is that she cannot be the main offender here. Someone wanted to make several million pounds by importing drugs into the UK, yet the Pakistan authorities are interested only in seeking to execute a very vulnerable young woman, and the British Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) shows no interest at all in identifying the real perpetrators.

"The British government must do more to help Khadija. Baby Malaika is suffering from all manner of health problems from being held in one of the world’s worst jails. UK officials must provide all the help they can so that Malaika can get the help she so desperately needs.”


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