Khizar Hayat

Khizar Hayat is a former policeman from Pakistan who is severely mentally ill.

Although Pakistan is prohibited from executing mentally ill prisoners under domestic and international law, Khizar’s hanging has been scheduled repeatedly.

Until his arrest, Khizar worked as a police officer in the village where he lived with his wife and children. Those who knew him described him as a kind man, but “very slow” and easily manipulated.

Sentenced to death in 2003 over a shooting, he has spent nearly 14 years on death row at Lahore’s notoriously overcrowded Kot Lakhpat jail.

In 2008, Khizar was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia by the jail authorities.

After eight years of treatment with powerful anti-psychotic medications, Khizar’s symptoms remain as serious as ever.

Experts have diagnosed his illness as “treatment resistant”.

His illness has caused tension with cellmates, who once beat him so badly that an autopsy was ordered because he appeared dead. A criminal charge was subsequently leveled against his fellow prisoner.

Since that time, Khizar has spent most of the time in total isolation in his cell in the prison hospital – effectively living in solitary confinement.