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Supreme Court seeks fresh medical report of mentally ill death row prisoner

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday ordered a fresh medical report into the condition of a mentally ill prisoner on death row, days after his execution was temporarily suspended, ARY News reported. 

The case of Khizar Hayat, a former police officer sentenced to death in 2003 for killing a colleague and who has spent more than 15 years in custody, has attracted widespread attention from rights groups and the UN.

A two-member bench of Supreme Court at the Lahore registry while hearing the appeal for suspension of death sentence handed to Hayat later forwarded the matter to a larger bench that is hearing another similar case.

The appeal was filed by his mother Iqbal Bano. Hayat’s lawyer, jail authorities and a psychiatrist were among those present in the court today.

Read More: CJP Nisar halts execution of inmate with mental illness

The court asked the lawyer why was the state of his mental health not brought to attention during the trial.

The lawyer told the court that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia during the trial and a six-member medical board set up in 2016 had confirmed him to be suffering from a mental illness.

Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik asked the mental health specialist Dr Mubashir about his opinion on the matter. Dr Mubashir told the court that the person in question was indeed suffering from a mental illness in which the person suffering doesn’t know what he’s doing.

Later, the court forwarded the case to a larger bench, adjourning the case indefinitely.

The court had temporarily suspended Hayat’s death sentence on Saturday. On Sunday, UN experts had urged Pakistan against carrying out an “arbitrary execution”.

“During his trial, no evidence or witnesses were called in his defence, and no questions were asked regarding his mental health, although he was later diagnosed with a mental health condition and has been receiving treatment for the past 10 years,” they said.

Government doctors had diagnosed Hayat as suffering from schizophrenia in 2008.

Two years ago, experts from the World Psychiatric Association also appealed to Pakistan to halt his execution, saying he had schizophrenia and did not understand the crime he had committed.

A petition to move him to a mental health facility was dismissed on 6 December 2018, the UN experts said.

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