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SC hears appeals of mentally ill death row prisoners

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday heard appeals of mentally-ill death row prisoners against death sentences, ARY News reported.

“How could the court determine the mental condition of an accused,” Justice Manzoor Malik asked from the amicus curiae as a larger bench of the apex court, comprising of five judges, heard the case.

“The court seeks opinion of experts in case of questions over the mental condition of an accused,” the amicus curiae informed the court.

“Diagnosis of the mental state of an accused could not be left to the court,” Justice Mansoor Ali Shah, a member of the bench said.

“The bench will hear the case of mental patients on daily basis for an early decision over the matter,” Justice Manzoor Malik said.

The bench issued notices to Advocate Generals of provinces for provincial representation in the case.

The court adjourned further hearing of the case till January 05 (tomorrow).

The bench in an earlier hearing had asked amici curiae to assist it on the questions as to why mentally-ill prisoners could not be executed and whether they could be hanged if they recover after treatment.

The apex court bench, was hearing clubbed petitions of Kanizan Bibi, Imdad Ali and Ghulam Abbas, who have spent 30, 18 and 14 years, respectively, on death row, while exhibiting acute symptoms of mental illness.

During the hearing, a medical board constituted by the apex court submitted its reports, regarding two mentally-ill death-row prisoners, declaring both the inmates as schizophrenic patients.

Pakistan is a signatory to international treaties and conventions prohibiting the execution of mentally-ill prisoners, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Convention Against Torture (CAT).

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