Pakistan set to execute severely mentally ill man

June 14, 2015

Image of a shadow of a noose hanging on a cracked wall

Pakistan is set to kill a former police officer diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia despite the execution of those with mental illnesses being illegal under both domestic and international law.

Khizar Hayat, who is on death row in Lahore, has had his execution scheduled Tuesday morning local time. Hayat was sentenced to death in 2003. Until his arrest, he worked as a police officer in the village where he lived with his wife and their children. He has been described by those who knew him as ‘very slow’ and easily manipulated. At trial, Hayat’s lawyer failed to present any evidence, or call a single witness in his client’s defence.

While in prison, Hayat has suffered multiple attacks from fellow prisoners. In 2012 these attacks became so frequent and severe that he was moved to an isolated cell in the jail’s hospital. Hayat’s mother has made repeated requests for her son to be moved to an independent medical facility but these have so far been refused. Instead he is kept in effective solitary confinement.

Hayat suffers from delusions and has to be heavily medicated. According to his lawyers Hayat has no idea how long he has been in jail, does not know why he is on death row, and believes that the medications he is taking are anti-malarial pills.

Pakistan lifted its longstanding moratorium on the death penalty in December of last year and has since executed 158 people. These include Aftab Bahadur who was convicted when he was under 18 and despite the only two eyewitnesses in his case recanting.

Maya Foa, director of Reprieve’s death penalty team, said: “Khizar Hayat is an extremely unwell man who needs medical care, attention and treatment. Instead the Pakistan government, in its reckless and relentless execution exercise, is trying to kill him – flagrantly ignoring domestic and international law in the process. Khizar’s mother is distraught over the imminent hanging of her son but there is still time to stop it. Khizar’s execution must be stayed immediately and he must be given proper, independent medical care.”


Notes to editors

1. For further information, please contact Clemency Wells in Reprieve’s Press Office: + 44(0) 7739 188 097