Saturday, May 28, 2011

Indian President gives green light to executions for the first time in seven years

After seven years of de facto moratorium on capital punishment, the Indian President, Pratibha Patil, has denied clemency to two death row and has given free rein to his execution, amid criticism from advocacy groups for human rights. "The President considered that these two defendants did not deserve a review of his sentence and that his crimes made them worthy of the death sentence, so he decided to confirm it," a source said Friday the Indian government.

According to the source said, those affected are Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, who is awaiting execution for "planning terrorist attacks resulting in several deaths, and Mahendra Nath Das, sentenced to death for murder. This is the first time since 2004 that an Indian head of state confirmed a death sentence decreed by the Supreme.

So far it has been a common practice for presidents of India forgive those convicted or failed to rule on their petitions for clemency to continue indefinitely as a way to maintain an unwritten moratorium now broken again. "The execution of two men from India after a hiatus of seven years is quite disappointing and is a step backwards for human rights in the country," Efe said the director of Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific, Sam Zarifi.

"For India, using the death penalty at this time would turn its back on the global trend against the abolition of executions, a number that continues to decline," he added. India Justice applies the death penalty case on the principle of "Rarest of the rare" ("the most extraordinary among the extraordinary.") This principle covers usually crimes of particular violence or treachery, but the problem is that the Supreme Court not criminalized at the time that crime was "rare" and what "most unusual", so that the final judgments are discretionary.

The last execution in India, which took place in 2004 and ended fourteen years of unwritten moratorium without executions, hit the prisoner Dhananjoy Chatterjee, who was hanged for raping and murdering a schoolgirl. The Indian state had recognized only 45 executions since independence in 1947 until this year, although Amnesty International says that in the decade of 1960 there had been 1,450 executions in China.

India appeared to have been slow steps towards the abolition of the death penalty since, in 1973, established the obligation of reason in each statement of the reasons why they chose a death sentence rather than life imprisonment. The penalties must first be confirmed by the Supreme Court, and that's when prisoners may apply for clemency to the president of the country, listening to the advice of Ministry of Interior before ratifying the sentence or commute.

His decision, under Article 72 of the Constitution of India, is transmitted to the Interior and from there goes to regional governments, which can carry penalties at any time, according to the government source. In India and was executed in 1989, the murderer of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and there is still the case of three people convicted for the murder of her son, who is also Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Other high-profile convicts are the only terrorist captured alive during the assault of Bombay, 2008-which left 166 dead-Qasab Amir Mohammad Ajmal, and the planner of an armed attack on the Indian parliament in 2001, Mohammed Afzal. Although the opposition has insistently demanded a quick decision against him, he has applied for leniency, the Indian government has so far maintained that there is no definite time when deciding on requests.

Since 2008, the Ministry of Interior has sent a fortnight of requests for clemency from the president of India.

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