2016-10-31 15:47:00

Pakistan's top court blocks execution of schizophrenic murder convict ‎

Pakistan's Supreme Court on Monday blocked the execution of a paranoid schizophrenic murder convict pending a review of an earlier ruling that his condition was not a permanent mental disorder and therefore not legally relevant, his lawyers said.  Rights groups have denounced the possible execution of  Imdad Ali, 50, who government doctors certified as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia in 2012, following his conviction for the 2001 murder of a cleric.  He was due to be executed on Wednesday, according to execution orders issued last week.  But the Supreme Court agreed to review an Oct. 21 ruling on Ali's final appeal, when the court ruled that schizophrenia did not fall within Pakistan's legal definition of mental disorders.

"We welcome the decision ... which will be integral in showing Pakistan's commitment to its international human rights obligations," said Zainab Malik, head of advocacy at Justice Project Pakistan, a legal aid group representing Ali.  The court scheduled a hearing for the second week of November.   Pakistan ended a virtual moratorium on capital punishment in 2014 after Pakistani Taliban gunmen massacred more than 150 people, most of them children, at a school.   Since then, 425 people have been hanged.   Rights groups, lawyers and medical professionals condemned the October ruling clearing the way for Ali's execution as running contrary to established medical knowledge and setting a dangerous precedent in cases involving the mentally ill.   (Source: Reuters)

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