Landmark Verdict: SC commutes death sentence of mentally ill prisoners

Syed Umarullah HussainiWeb Editor

10th Feb, 2021. 11:18 am

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday, in its landmark verdict has commuted deaths sentences of mentally ill prisoners Kanizan Bibi and Imdad Ali.

According to the details, a five-member bench of the Supreme Court’s Lahore registry passed a landmark judgment today, while hearing the case of three mentally ill death row prisoners, Kanizan Bibi, Imdad Ali and Ghulam Abbas.

The apex court also directs prison officials to file a fresh mercy petition for Ghulam Abbas, another mentally ill prisoner who has spent 15 years on death row.

Born in a poor family, Kanizan was arrested in 1989 as a juvenile and sentenced to death in 2001 as an accomplice in the murder of six. The murder of six in the house where she used to work as a maid took place in July 1989. She was named in the FIR. Trial court sentenced her and the head of the household to death in the case in 1991.

However, her death warrants were officially suspended after Kanizan was found to be suffering from schizophrenia; and later, admitted to a government hospital for psychiatric diseases in Lahore. She was transferred to the Punjab Institute of Mental Health (PIMH) in 2006.

In 2015, a medical board officially declared her to be suffering from schizophrenia suggesting treatment. In 2018, Supreme Court of Pakistan took suo motu notice and ordered further clinical evaluation. Report of that evaluation is yet to be submitted before the SC.

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