Pakistan’s Supreme Court Repeals Death Penalty for people with intellectual disability

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By Louis Linel, on 10 February 2021

By commuting two death sentences, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that capital punishment cannot be carried out to people with serious mental health issues.

In a landmark decision issued on 10 February 2021, the Supreme Court of Pakistan banned the application of capital punishment for people with serious mental health disorders, ruling that the execution would not “meet the ends of justice”.

“After considering the material discussed herein above, we hold that if a condemned prisoner, due to mental illness, is found to be unable to comprehend the rationale and reason behind his/her punishment, then carrying out the death sentence will not meet the ends of justice.”

Although the Supreme Court does not remove all mentally-ill prisoners from death row, it entitles them to be further reviewed by a medical board so their death sentence may be commuted, which contributes to reducing the scope of the death penalty as a first, but crucial, step toward abolition in law.

Source: The Guardian

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