SC bans execution of mentally ill inmates

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Lahore (Web Desk): The Supreme Court on Wednesday banned execution of mentally ill inmates, saying that if a prisoner on death row is unable to comprehend the rationale behind their punishment due to a mental illness, then carrying out the death sentence does not “meet the ends of justice”.

A five member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik announced, the earlier reserved, verdict at the Lahore registry. Other members of the bench include Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah.

The appeals had been filed on the behalf of Kanizan Bibi, Imdad Ali and Ghulam Abbas who have spent 30, 18 and 14 years on death row, respectively, while exhibiting acute symptoms of mental illness.

In its judgement, the court commuted the death sentences of Kanizan Bibi and Imdad Ali to life imprisonment. Meanwhile, the court directed a fresh mercy petition to be prepared on behalf of Ghulam Abbas.

The court also directed authorities to amend the Prison Rules to bring the jail manuals of all the provinces in harmony, and directed the federal and provincial governments to establish/create high security forensic mental health facilities at teaching and training mental health institutions.