The British woman breastfeeding on Pakistan's death row

Khadija Shah2originally by: ViceUK
published: June 2013

Last year, Khadija Shah was apprehended under suspicion of carrying a suitcase that contained £3.2 million worth (approximately 63kg) of pure Afghan heroin through Islamabad Airport. The 25-year-old Birmingham resident claimed to have been given the bag by two men, most likely members of a drug smuggling ring who had been complicit in grooming her for months, if not years.

Anti-narcotics officers were notified that she would be carrying the shipment and she was arrested immediately. In Pakistan, the death penalty is applicable to anyone charged with carrying more than 1kg of heroin, entitling Shah to be hanged – the country’s preferred method of execution – 63 times over.

A moratorium on executions had been put in place by the Pakistan Peoples Party (formerly led by Benazir Bhutto) in 2008, but today that was lifted, opening Shah up to the real possibility of losing her life. However, her trial opened in March and is still some way off reaching a verdict. In the meantime, she’s being detained at Pakistan’s infamously unhygienic Adiala jail, where she’s been held since her arrest.

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