A 69-year-old British man who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy by a court in Pakistan may be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.
Mohammad Asgharwas sentenced at a court in Rawalpindi near Islamabad last week, after being found guilty of writing blasphemous letters claiming to be a prophet of Islam. Insulting the Prophet Mohammed is considered blasphemy under Muslim law and carries the death penalty.
The court rejected claims that Mr Asgharwas has a mental health condition – even though the British charity Reprieve has evidence that he was detained in Scotland in 2010 and was diagnosed with the mental health condition paranoid schizophrenia.
The family is appealing to the UK government to help bring Mr Asgharwas home. In a statement released on Monday (27/01/14) the family said:
“We are really upset and concerned that they will never release him and that he will die in jail. He has already attempted suicide unsuccessfully.
"We just want him back home where hopefully he can be treated for – and recover from – his mental illness.
"We urge the British government to intervene and bring him home to us where he will be safe."
The family claims Mr Asgharwas’ charge followed a dispute with one of his tenants.
It is alleged that he has not had access to legal representation while being held in Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.
Duncan Lewis Mental health Solicitors
Duncan Lewis is a leading firm of mental health solicitors and can advise on mental health law in England and Wales, including detention under the Mental Health Act 1983.
Duncan Lewis mental health solicitors regularly visit hospitals and police stations and can advise on treatment reviews for mental health patients where appropriate.
For expert help with mental health law, contact the Duncan Lewis Mental Health Solicitors Helpline on 0203 114 1124.