The authorities in Pakistan this morning executed a mentally-ill man – the 100th prisoner to be killed since the government resumed executions in December.
Muneer Hussain, from the remote area of Azad Kashmir, was convicted of murder in 2000. Mr Hussain was a long-term sufferer of a serious mental illness, experiencing extreme anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations for at least 20 years prior to his conviction. According to his lawyers at Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), his condition deteriorated so much during his incarceration that he could no longer recognise members of his family, and had no recollection of his life before his arrest. He was hanged in Vehari, Punjab early this morning.
Mr Hussain is the 100th prisoner to be executed since the Pakistani authorities resumed hangings at the end of December 2014. In that time, the scope of the execution drive has widened from terrorism-related cases to include other convictions such as murder and kidnap. There are also fears that many of those in line for execution should never have been handed death sentences, including mentally ill people, and juveniles. Last week, the authorities signalled their intention to carry out the hanging next Thursday (6th) of Shafqat Hussain, who was convicted as a juvenile on the basis of a ‘confession’ extracted through torture.
The execution of mentally-ill people and juveniles is illegal under international and Pakistani law.
Commenting, Maya Foa, head of the death penalty team at legal organization Reprieve, said: “The execution of a mentally ill prisoner this morning marks a new low for the Pakistani authorities. Muneer Hussain was the 100th prisoner to be executed since the moratorium was lifted in December. In an unprecedented wave of state violence, we have seen due process jettisoned and scores of executions carried out against the mentally ill, people convicted as children, and victims of torture, in flagrant violation of international and Pakistani law. The international community must speak out and put an end to these gross injustices.”
Source: Reprieve, April 28, 2015
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