Pakistan’s Supreme Court [official website] on Monday blocked the execution [press release] of a murder convict who had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2012. The order is pending reconsideration of an earlier ruling that held that Imdad Ali’s condition was not a permanent mental disorder and therefore not legally relevant. Ali was convicted in 2012 for the murder of a religious scholar in 2001 and has been diagnosed since 2008, when government doctors certified his mental condition. Rights groups had previously urged Pakistani authorities to stop Ali’s execution [JURIST report]. The experts called Ali’s execution “unlawful and tantamount to an arbitrary execution, as well as a form of cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment,” and called for it to be annulled.
Capital punishment [JURIST op-ed] remains a controversial issue in Pakistan as well as worldwide. Earlier this month the US Supreme Court vacated [JURIST report] the death sentence of an Oklahoma man convicted of killing his girlfriend and her two children in a case where the trial judge permitted family members to recommend the sentence to the jury. Two weeks ago, a group of UN human rights experts spoke on the subject of the death penalty and terrorism, calling the death penalty ineffective [JURIST report], and often times illegal, in deterring to terrorism.