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The fire moved quickly through the house, a one-story wood-frame structure in a working-class neighborhood of Corsicana, in northeast Texas. Flames spread along the walls, bursting through doorways, blistering paint and tiles and furniture. Smoke pressed against the ceiling, then banked downward, seeping into each room and through crevices in the windows, staining the morning sky.
Buffie Barbee, who was eleven years old and lived two houses down, was playing in her back yard when she smelled the smoke. She ran inside and told her mother, Diane, and they hurried up the street; that’s when they saw the smoldering house and Cameron Todd Willingham standing on the front porch, wearing only a pair of jeans, his chest blackened with soot, his hair and eyelids singed. He was screaming, “My babies are burning up!” His children—Karmon and Kameron, who were one-year-old twin girls, and two-year-old Amber—were trapped inside.
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Schizophrenia ‘not a mental illness’, says Pakistan Supreme Court

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has today ruled that schizophrenia does not qualify as mental disorder, paving the way for the execution of Imdad Ali who suffers from severe mental illness.

In an unprecedented judgement, they claim that schizophrenia is not a permanent condition and varied according to the “level of stress”.

They claimed that “it is, therefore, a recoverable disease, which, in all the cases, does not fall within the definition of “mental disorder” as defined in the Mental Health Ordinance, 2001.”

In seeking to justify their case, the judges made reference to an outdated Indian case from the 1980s, which said that “‘schizophrenia’ is what Schizophrenia does.”

Mr Ali has been previously diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and a 2013 medical report stated him to be “insane.” Sentenced to death in 2008 over a shooting, Imdad lost his final appeal last year.

He came within hours of being hanged last month, before his wife filed an appeal to the Supreme Court. A medical assessment conducted at the jail last month by Dr Tahir Feroze Khan noted that Mr Ali was suffering from “active psychosis” and that his illness appeared to be “treatment resistant”.

The latest ruling means Mr Ali could face the gallows as early as Wednesday 26th October.

Maya Foa, a director of Reprieve, said:

“It is outrageous for Pakistan’s Supreme Court to claim that schizophrenia is not a mental illness, and flies in the face of accepted medical knowledge, including Pakistan’s own mental health laws. It is terrifying to think that a mentally ill man like Imdad Ali could now hang because judges are pretending that schizophrenia is not a serious condition. Pakistan’s President needs to urgently intervene to stop this sickening attempt to hang Imdad.”

  • More information about Imdad Ali is available on the Reprieve website.
  • A copy of the Supreme Court judgement is available on request.


Source: Reprieve, October 20, 2016

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