A Pakistani court on Wednesday ordered execution of a mentally ill man convicted of murder despite protests by rights groups over hanging those suffering from ailments like schizophrenia.
District and sessions judge Nazir Ahmed Gajana issued the death warrant of 55-year-old mentally ill convict Khizer Hayat who is scheduled to be executed on January 17. The issuance of Khizar's execution warrants is particularly alarming considering that the case of another schizophrenic death row prisoner, Imdad Ali, remains pending before the Supreme Court.
Pakistan's top court had recently ruled that schizophrenia does not fall within its legal definition of mental disorders. A court-sanctioned examination at the Punjab Institute of Mental Health in July last year concluded unanimously that Khizar suffers from psychosis and schizophrenia. Sentenced to death in 2003 over a shooting of a fellow police officer, Khizar has spent nearly 14 years on death row.
Since 2012, he has been kept in solitary confinement, after he was first diagnosed as a schizophrenic in 2008 by jail authorities. He suffers from delusions and has to be heavily medicated.