Mr. Asghar's legal team is concerned that he will try to commit suicide in prison.
The family of Mohammed Asghar, a British-Pakistani man sentenced to death last week for blasphemy, has appealed to the UK government to help their father, whose lawyers are being denied access to him in prison, according to a press release from the legal charity Reprieve.
Mohammed Asghar's family on Monday released a statement through Reprieve, which has been assisting Mr. Asghar. In their statement, Mr. Asghar's family said, "We are really upset and concerned that they will never release him and that he will die in jail. He has already attempted suicide unsuccessfully. We just want him back home where hopefully he can be treated for and recover from his mental illness. We urge the British Government to intervene and bring him home to us where he will be safe."
Reprieve said the legal team has been working on Mr. Asghar's case for over three years but has been denied access to him in prison. They were replaced by State counsel in the last stages of the trial after filing an application to have the judge replaced on grounds of probable bias.
Mr. Asghar's State-appointed counsel failed to raise the issue of Mr. Asghar's paranoid schizophrenia before the judge, despite being given access to the extensive medical evidence available from the UK. Mr. Asghar's legal team is concerned that he will try to commit suicide in prison. They have repeatedly raised these concerns with the prison authorities but have given no details over his condition and have not been allowed to see him.
An appeal must be filed before the High Court within seven days of the sentencing. If counsel is unable to meet this deadline then an automatic "jail appeal" will be filed - a single piece of paper stating Mr. Asghar's desire to appeal. If this happens, Mr. Asghar's lawyers will be barred from raising crucial evidence of Mr. Asghar's mental health and other fair trial issues on appeal, the release said.