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Mentally unwell prisoner to be hanged on 18th: JPP

Updated June 16, 2019

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A sessions court in Rawalpindi has issued a death warrant for a mentally unwell prisoner for his execution on June 18, according to the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), a human rights law firm.  — AFP/File
A sessions court in Rawalpindi has issued a death warrant for a mentally unwell prisoner for his execution on June 18, according to the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), a human rights law firm. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: A sessions court in Rawalpindi has issued a death warrant for a mentally unwell prisoner for his execution on June 18, according to the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), a human rights law firm.

In a statement released on Saturday, the JPP urged the government to halt the execution of 36-year-old Ghulam Abbas who has clear symptoms of mental illness, for further evaluation.

“Abbas’s execution must be stayed and he should be transferred to a mental health facility to be comprehensively assessed,” said Sarah Belal of the JPP.

“The medical examination records showed that jail authorities had treated him with strong anti-psychotic drugs,” said psychiatrist Dr Malik Hussain Mubbashar, who has been appointed by the Supreme Court to assist it as a mental health expert.

Dr Mubbashar said Abbas had a genetic predisposition to mental illness because of his family history of mental illness.

“It is imperative I be allowed to visit Abbas in jail to assess his mental health and physical condition. In my professional opinion, he should be shifted to the Centre for Mental Health, Benazir Bhutto Hospital, Rawalpindi, for proper care,” he said.

Imprisoned in 2004, Abbas was sentenced to death on May 31, 2006 by a district and sessions court for stabbing a neighbour. Abbas has spent more than 13 years on death row.

A fresh mercy petition has been filed requesting the president to grant him a reprieve.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2019