Pakistan Supreme Court bans execution of mentally ill detainees


A five-member bench led by Judge Manzoor Ahmad Malik passed the Ordinance on Appeals from Mentally Disordered Death Row prisoners who spent 30, 18 and 14 years on death row respectively.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday banned the execution of mentally ill detainees, observing that the execution of the death penalty “does not meet the ends of justice” if a convict is unable to understand the justification of the penalty.

A five-member panel led by Judge Manzoor Ahmad Malik adopted the Ordinance on Appeals for Mentally Disordered Death Sentenced Persons – Kanizan Bibi, Imdad Ali and Ghulam Abbas – who respectively spent 30, 18 and 14 years in the death corridor.

The petitioners, who were showing symptoms of mental illness, called for their sentences to be commuted.

The court commuted the death sentences of Kanizan Bibi and Imdad Ali to life imprisonment and ordered that a new pardon petition be filed with the Pakistani president on behalf of Ghulam Abbas.

The court observed that the execution of the death penalty “does not meet the ends of justice” if a convict is unable to understand the rationale for the sentence due to mental illness.

He also ordered the Punjab government to transfer the accused from prison to the Punjab Mental Health Institute in Lahore for treatment and rehabilitation.

However, in the judgment, the judiciary clarified that not all mental illnesses are automatically eligible for exemption from the execution of the death penalty.

“This exemption will only be applicable in the event that a medical commission, made up of mental health professionals, certifies after a thorough examination and assessment that the convicted person no longer has higher mental functions to assess the justification for the sentence of death pronounced on him. », We read in the judgment.

The court also ordered the authorities to set up high security forensic mental health facilities in mental health education and training institutions. He also called for changes in laws to properly define mental illness so that it is not confused with generic terms such as “deranged mind”, “moody” and “mad”.

Reacting to the judgment, Justice Project Pakistan, an advocacy group campaigning for the release of mentally ill detainees, said in a statement: “This is a landmark judgment that validates our ten-year struggle for Courts recognize mental illness as a circumstance against the imposition of the death penalty.

“We are grateful to all honorable judges of the judiciary for asserting the rights of the most vulnerable prisoners by explicitly recognizing national guarantees and international human rights principles,” said Sarah Belal, Executive Director of Justice Project Pakistan.


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