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Pakistan Halts Execution Of Mentally Ill Man

FILE: A prison in southern Pakistan.
FILE: A prison in southern Pakistan.

Pakistan's Supreme Court says it has halted the execution of a mentally ill prisoner who has spent more than 13 years on death row following pressure by human rights activists.

The court has suspended the execution of Ghulam Abbas "till further orders," spokesman Shahid Kambohyo said on June 17.

Abbas, 36, was scheduled to be hanged on June 18 for stabbing a neighbor in 2006.

Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), which campaigns against the death penalty, has filed an application to stay the execution after Abbas was denied medical attention by an independent psychiatrist and two government doctors.

Abbas has evidence of psychotic illness with hallucinations and behavior disturbances, Justice Project Pakistan said in a statement on June 16.

Pakistan is a signatory to the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD), which guarantees the dignity of individuals with disabilities.

Pakistan lifted a seven-year unofficial moratorium on the death penalty after Islamist militants killed more than 150 people, mostly children, at a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar in December 2014.

Pakistan has since executed 508 prisoners, according to the JPP.

There are over two dozen death penalty offences, including blasphemy, under Pakistani law.

According to an estimate, over 4,600 prisoners are on death row.

Based of reporting by Dawn and dpa