Pakistan court orders fresh report on mentally ill prisoner on death row: NGO

Islamabad, PakistanUpdated: Jan 14, 2019, 10:24 PM IST

File photo. Pakistan's Supreme Court. Photograph:(Reuters)

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Khizar Hayat has spent over 15 years in custody for killing a colleague in 2003. In 2008 government doctors had diagnosed Hayat as suffering from schizophrenia.

Pakistan's top court on Monday ordered a fresh medical report into the condition of a mentally ill prisoner on death row, an NGO representing him said, days after his execution was temporarily suspended.

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.

"The case was adjourned till the Special Medical Board examines Khizar and files their report before the Court," the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), a rights organisation that is representing Hayat, said in a press release.

It added that the court had "strongly reprimanded" jail authorities for failing to follow prison rules.

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 was suffering from 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.