Pakistan set to execute severely mentally ill man

'Imdad Ali's hanging would be a grave breach of Pakistani and international law and an indelible stain on Pakistan’s reputation,' says human rights group

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The Independent Online

A mentally ill man in Pakistan is set to be executed in a sentencing deemed "appalling" by human rights experts.

Pakistan’s interior ministry handed down a so-called "black warrant" confirming that it plans to hang Imdad Ali - who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia - on November 2.

Mr Imdad, 50, was sentenced to death in 2008 after he allegedly murdered a religious teacher six years earlier.

A series of medical assessments carried out since then have confirmed his illness, with one doctor describing him as “insane” and saying that his condition is “chronic and disabling.”

Mr Imdad was originally sentenced to hang in September, but received a last minute stay of execution by the Supreme Court, which in turn expired last week.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has since dismissed an appeal by Mr Ali’s lawyers, commenting that schizophrenia is “not a mental disorder”.

The execution of mentally ill people is prohibited under Pakistani and international law and both UN human rights experts and Pakistani psychiatrists have urged the country's authorities to halt Mr Ali's execution.

Under international law, the president has a duty to review death penalty cases and more than 20,000 people are said to have signed a petition calling on Pakistan's President Mamnoon Hussain to grant Mr Ali mercy. 

International human rights organisation Reprieve has said Mr Ali's execution will be an "indelible stain on Pakistan's reputation" and called on the president to pardon him.

Reprieve's director Maya Foa said: “It’s appalling that the Pakistani authorities are pushing ahead with their plans to execute Imdad.

"Experts agree that Imdad is severely mentally ill - meaning his hanging would be a grave breach of Pakistani and international law and an indelible stain on Pakistan’s reputation.

"It is the president of Pakistan’s constitutional duty to review death penalty cases and to use his power to grant mercy in cases such as Imdad’s, where not to do so would result in a gross, irreparable miscarriage of justice.

"The president must use his power to pardon Imdad and prevent this outrage from going ahead.”

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