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Pakistan court sets execution date despite mental illness

[JURIST] A court in Pakistan issued a death warrant for a schizophrenic prisoner, Khizar Hayat, sentenced to death in 2003 for shooting a police officer. The execution date was set just months after Pakistan's Supreme Court blocked the execution [JURIST report] of another prisoner who had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2012. Hayat, who is 55 years old, was also a police officer at the time of the shooting. The rights group Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) [advocacy website] is handling Hayat's case, and argues that he suffers from delusions [JPP backgrounder] and does not know or understand why he is on death row. Hayat's execution is scheduled [Al Jazeera report] for January 17.

Pakistan's use of the death penalty has received criticism throughout the world. In August the Supreme Court of Pakistan upheld [JURIST report] the death sentences of 16 civilians convicted of terror-related offenses by military courts. The previous year a group of independent UN human rights experts called on [JURIST report] Pakistan to reinstate a moratorium on the death penalty after reports of minors being sentenced to death. A Pakistani court suspended the execution [JURIST report] of a paraplegic prisoner after numerous human rights groups claimed that a hanging would be cruel and inhumane. In 2015 Pakistan executed [JURIST report] a man alleged to have murdered a child when he was a minor despite international criticism and allegations that his confession was coerced.

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