Three mentally ill US prisoners have been slated for execution in coming days, an anti-death penalty group said.
"Severe mental illness should make them ineligible for the death penalty," National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty director Brian Roberts said in a statement.
"People with severe mental illness -- just like people with mental retardation and juvenile offenders -- cannot be regarded as culpable as fully functioning adults."
The Southern US state of North Carolina is to kill two of the men by legal injection while Georgia, also in the South, has slated the execution of James Willie Brown for Tuesday.
Brown was found guilty of raping and murdering a woman in 1975. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia 17 times. Nevertheless, a judge determined in 1981 that he was eligible to die for his crimes.
Joseph Keel is to be executed in North Carolina November 7. He was sentenced to die in 1990 for the murder of his father-in-law. He suffers from a personality disorder stemming from multiple brain injuries, ranging from pre-natal to a workplace accident, when he was struck on the head with a 725-kilogram (1,600-pound) steel beam.
"Organic personality disorder is caused by traumatic brain injuries and is characterized by extreme mood swings, aggression, impaired judgment, apathy or paranoia and depression," the coalition said in a statement.
Another prisoner, John Dennis Daniels, was sentenced to die in 1990 for the murder of a woman. He is to die November 14, despite psychiatrists' testimony that he has the intellectual development of an 11- or 12-year-old child.
So far this year, 57 prisoners have been executed in the United States, according to the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington.
Copyright © 2003, AFP