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Thread: India

  1. #1
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    Oct 2010


    The Bombay High Court on Monday upheld the death sentence for Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving Pakistani terrorist, for his role in the dastardly attacks on Mumbai on Nov. 26, 2008.

    The acquittal of Fahim Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed, the two other accused in the case, has been upheld by the division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice RV More.

    Kasab has the option of moving the Supreme Court against the verdict. If the apex court also upholds the Bombay High Court's ruling, then he can appeal to the president of India for pardon.

    Kasab was sentenced to death last year for waging war against India. It may be recalled that more than 150 people were killed in the worst terrorist strike on Indian soil when 10 Pakistani terrorists, including Kasab, barged into Mumbai from Karachi and mounted audacious attacks in different parts of the nation.

    The Bombay High Court also considered and dismissed today Kasab's appeal against his death sentence. Ansari and Shaikh were accused of helping the 10 Pakistani terrorists plan their strikes in Mumbai.


  2. #2
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    ON February 22, the Bombay High Court confirmed the death sentence of Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist of the horrific 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai. A special court set up for Kasab's trial had sentenced him to death on four counts last year. Kasab's lawyer, Farzana Shah, told the media that they would appeal against the death penalty in the Supreme Court.

    Although the state had said that this trial would be put on the fast track, it has been going on for two and a half years and there appears to be no sign of an end. For the families of the victims of the 2008 attack, it means that justice is once again delayed. They promised us it would be over soon. But it is dragging on and on. Kasab is a constant reminder that my father is dead, and we want justice for that, said the daughter of a prominent businessman who was killed in the attack.

    Moreover, the cost of keeping Kasab alive and safe in Mumbai's Arthur Road jail has already run into several crores of rupees. Unofficial estimates are that Rs.100 crore has been spent on Kasab's security. For instance, his cell and the tunnel leading to it can withstand almost every form of attack. Reportedly, Rs.2 crore was spent on the structure. The area in the jail that houses Kasab was once occupied by the court where the 1992-93 Mumbai serial bombing cases were heard. Today it resembles a fortress; structures resembling iron and steel cages have replaced the old courtroom.

    In May 2010, a special court sentenced Kasab to death on four counts. Justice M.L. Tahilyani had awarded him the death sentence for murder, conspiracy to murder, waging war against India, and participating in an act of terror under the Unlawful Activity Prevention Act (UAPA). The court said that keeping Kasab alive would be a lingering danger to society.

    Kasab, who is the 52nd prisoner on death row in India, was also awarded a life term on five other counts by the special court.

    Upholding the special court's sentence, Justice Ranjana Desai of the Bombay High Court said: Perhaps the weightiest aggravating circumstance is that Kasab waged a war against the Government of India pursuant to a conspiracy which was hatched in Pakistan, the object of which was to inter alia destabilise the Government of India and to weaken India's economic might.

    The judge added that Kasab's most serious crime was waging war on the Indian government whose stability is most essential and crucial for the very existence of democratic India.

    The court order said: He indulged in mindless killings of innocent people with a view to overawing the Government of India and achieving cessation of a part of Indian territory. There was an attempt to create ill will and disaffection among different religions of India so as to damage its secular fabric. Waging war is a serious crime which calls for deterrent punishment.

    The gun-wielding image of Kasab, beamed across the world, became the face of terror on the night of November 26, 2008, when a band of 10 fidayeen stormed two luxury hotels, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station, a Jewish religious centre and Leopold Cafe, all in South Mumbai, and killed at least 173 people and injured several hundreds. Kasab and his associate Ismail Khan were held responsible for 52 of these deaths.

    The court rejected the defence contention that Kasab was mentally unstable. He did not appear to be repentant at all. He was perfectly sane. All his actions portray a scheming mind and not the mind of a mentally unstable person, it said. Furthermore, the court rejected the argument that the death penalty would make a martyr of Kasab.

    Kasab's crime was of a magnitude for which the sentence of life imprisonment is inadequate. We feel that we would never be as confident as we are today in confirming the death sentence, Justice Ranjana Desai said.

    In a significant move, the Central government has said that it will allow an investigating team from Pakistan to question Indian witnesses, lawyers and medical experts who participated in the 26/11 terror attack trial.

    We have agreed to allow that commission to come to India to record evidence. But we have also asked the Pakistan government whether it would agree to receive a team from India to question some suspects, said Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram at a press conference.


  3. #3
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    Indian President gives go ahead to hang Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar

    The Professor was a known political dissident and had claimed that his life was at risk in India because of his political activism. His family was persecuted as evidenced by the disappearance of his father, uncle and best friend.

    Following an unsuccessful asylum application in Germany in January 1995, he was deported back to India on the basis of he had nothing to fear, he was handed over to Indian police officials on German soil before his deportation. He was arrested upon arrival and he has now been in prison for over 16 years with the last eight years in solitary confinement with the daily threat of the gallows. The Professors mental health has deteriorated and it has become life threatening.

    The German immigration authorities returned him to India however:

    * In his absence the German courts (Verwaltungsgericht Frankfurt, Case 8E50399\94.A(1)) ruled that he should not have been returned as his life would be in danger in India overruling the prior decision.
    * By deporting someone to a death-penalty prone country Germany violated the European Convention on Human Rights and remains morally obliged to do all it can to seek the Professors immediate release.
    * Professor Bhullar continues to suffer and may soon lose his fight for life due to the brutal and unjust regime in India. On 26 May 2011 after more than 7 years the Indian President rejected his plea for clemency and gave the go ahead for him to be hanged.
    * While in India Professor Bhullar was put on trial in a conspiracy case and on 17 December 2002 his sentence to death was confirmed by the Supreme Court although based on erroneous information, it is important to note the following facts:
    * Amnesty International reported that Professor Bhullars case was highly contentious, it was the first in Indias Supreme Courts history, someone was sentenced to death on the basis of a split judgment
    * For the first time in Indias Supreme Courts history, someone was sentenced to death on the basis of a split judgment. The presiding judge, Justice Shah acquitted the accused whereas the other two judges, Justice Aggarwal and Justice Passayat upheld the death sentence.
    * Justice Shah acquitted Professor Bhullar stating that the conspiracy theory falls flat as the rest of the accused who are named in the confessional statement are not convicted or tried.
    * The confession statement, allegedly extracted under torture, was signed by a thumbprint. For a man who is highly educated, the sign of a thumbprint implies duress. A confession made before a police officer under normal criminal law is not admissible as evidence.
    * Furthermore, none of the 133 witnesses produced by the prosecution, while the case was in the lower court, identified Professor Bhullar.

    While Justice Shah concentrated on the facts of the case, Justice Passayat chose to decide the case with political rhetoric and find Professor Bhullar guilty based on contradicting arguments and judgments, saying that neither proof beyond reasonable doubt nor procedure was important.

    Professor Bhullar has been on death row in Tihar Central Prison, New Delhi for over eight years and following the recent announcement by the Indian President knows he can be taken any day to the gallows.

    In 2002 and 2003 considerable international pressure was applied by politicians from the UK, Germany, Canada and elsewhere on the Indian authorities to prevent his execution. Assurances were given by leading Indian politicians that the death sentence would not be carried out, but the Indian Presidents announcement of 26 May 2011 casts major doubt about these assurances.

    Each day for the last eight years the Professor has been held in solitary confinement spending 22 hours in a 97 cell and he now wakes up thinking this will be his last day. This has been a torture worse than death and it is no surprise that media reports in the last few months have emerged that he has been moved to a mental hospital.


  4. #4
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    Search for executioner delays India's first hangings for years

    India is preparing for its first executions in seven years, but the government could be forced to delay the hangings because of a lack of executioners.

    Human rights campaigners have called on the government to cancel the executions after the President refused to commute the sentences of two men on death row.

    Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar was sentenced to death in 2001 for his alleged role in plotting a series of terror attacks in Delhi in 1993 that left nine people dead.

    Mahendra Nath Das has been on death row since 1997 for committing a murder in Assam.

    But the nation is so unprepared for the first executions since 2004 that the search for an executioner is still underway, the Independent reports. The state of Assam doesn't employ an executioner any more and as a result there is no date set for the executions.

    Amnesty International said the deaths would be a "step backwards" for human rights in India.


  5. #5
    Administrator Michael's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    India has about one billion (mostly poor) citizens and theres no one who want to earn some bucks? WOW.

  6. #6
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Singapore and Malaysia hang convicts every year. Surely, those countries could provide some assistance.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2010

    Dozens apply for hangman job

    ZIMBABWE has a hangman who is “ready to do the job upon request”, a Justice Ministry official said this week as he rejected claims by a Senate committee that the country had no executioner.

    The Senate committee on human rights, in a report published two weeks ago, blamed the failure to execute 55 death row prisoners -- including one who has been in limbo for 13 years -- on the lack of a hangman.

    The publication of the report prompted a flood of applications for the job, said Maxwell Ranga, the permanent secretary in the Justice Ministry.

    He told the Herald: "I was shocked to receive applications by several nationals who wanted to be employed as hangmen. Some applications were frightening as others plainly admitted they were killers.
    "Some indicated they were good at killing and that they should be considered for the post, which we had not advertised.”

    Ranga blames ministers for the delays in carrying out the sentences. Death sentences handed down by the High Court are automatically sent to the Supreme Court for appeal hearings, and if upheld ministers must scrutinise the paperwork before sentences are carried out.

    “The cabinet is holding on to the papers we sent in respect of the execution of the 55 murderers. There is a thinking that the new constitution might abolish the death penalty and I think that can be the reason why they have decided to defer execution,” Ranga said.
    Ranga said Zimbabwe was “not looking for any hangman”.

    “The post is part-time and we have one hangman who is always ready to do the job upon request. Although he cannot be named, he is paid on every execution and he is actually permanently employed elsewhere. He cannot be permanent with us because people are not executed daily," he said.

    And Ranga says death row prisoners, who complained that they were being “executed everyday” by the uncertainty over their execution day, must be careful what they wish for.

    "I do not see how these people on death row are being prejudiced. Are they crying for their immediate death? If they are lucky, the new constitution may abolish capital punishment or their sentences may be converted to life in jail considering the delay," he said.


  8. #8
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    Oct 2010
    Kasab appeals against death sentence in Supreme Court

    New Delhi (ANI): Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, today moved the Supreme Court challenging the death penalty awarded to him.

    Kasab moved the Supreme Court against the Mumbai High Court's order upholding the death penalty, Times Now channel quoted sources, as saying

    The Bombay High Court had earlier in February this year confirmed the death penalty to Kasab, terming the case as rarest of rare and holding there was 'no scope of reform' of the convict.

    A Mumbai Special Court on May 6, 2010, sentenced Kasab to death on four counts.udge M L Tahaliyani awarded the death sentence for Kasab on-waging war against India, murder, conspiracy to murder, and participating in an act of terror under Unlawful Activity Prevention Act (UAPA).

    Kasab, who is the 52nd prisoner on death row in India, was also awarded a life term on five other counts.

    It maybe recalled that ten gunmen from Pakistan arrived in Mumbai via sea route on November 26, 2008 and started firing indiscriminately at a busy railway station, a Jewish settlement, a popular caf‚ and two luxury hotels.

    Several innocents were held hostage over the next three days and at least 166 people were killed before Indian commandos smoked out the terrorists on November 28, 2008. (ANI)


  9. #9
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    Gallows being spruced up for executions

    Preparations are quietly on to oil the creaky rusting gallows and identify a hangman. With the President rejecting the mercy pleas of the Rajiv Gandhi assassins, Murugan, Chinna Santhan and Perarivalan, the Tamil Nadu police is gearing up for the execution of the three men, presently lodged in the Vellore prison.

    The last hanging in the state took place nearly 17 years ago, on April 27, 1995, when `auto` Shankar, the notorious serial killer, was executed in the Salem Central Prison. The last hanging in the country took place in 2004 with the hanging of Dhananjoy Chatterjee on August 14 at the Alipore Central prison in Kolkata. Dhananjoy was hanged after he was convicted for rape and murder of a 14-year-old on March 5,1990 at Bhowanipur in West Bengal.

    ADGP prisons, S K Dogra told TOI that no special ground work was needed for carrying out the executions of the three men, whose death sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 1999. Dogra said he was yet to receive the official communication from the Union home ministry.

    "I had an informal chat with the deputy inspector general (prisons) who oversees the preparations for such executions. I believe not much groundwork is needed," he said, indicating that things were more or less ready.

    According to a Vellore prison official, seven working days are required to carry out the execution after the receipt of the order. "After we receive the order, the prison superintendent will fix the date for execution of the convicts and convey it to the government," the official said.

    A senior grade warden of the prison will carry out the execution and the department does not hire personnel especially for the post of hangman. "We will ascertain the health condition of the convicts well before the date of execution and then inform the relatives of the convicts. The prison officials will communicate to the relatives if the convicts request to meet them," said the prison official.

    Interestingly, the Vellore prison also has three convicts sentenced to death in the Dharmapuri bus burning case. The Supreme Court on January 2011 stayed the execution of the death penalty against C Muniappan, Nedu Nedunchezhian and Madhu Ravindran accused of setting fire to a bus killing three Tamil Nadu Agricultural University girl students travelling in it in the year 2000. Though the apex court upheld the death sentence, it stayed the execution after a writ petition filed by the three pleaded for stay of the sentence on the ground that a petition seeking review of the August 30, 2010 judgment was still pending disposal. The students were burnt alive in Dharmapuri after AIADMK sympathizers went on the rampage after a special court convicted party chief Jayalalithaa in the Kodaikanal Pleasant Stay hotel case.


  10. #10
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    Pawan Kumar at his home in Meerut

    The man who wants to become India's new executioner

    With an ease and fluidity that suggested considerable practice, Pawan Kumar picked up a rope and demonstrated how to tie a hangman's noose. He showed precisely where the loop should be fitted to ensure things went quickly and smoothly. And finally he showed how, with a silent nod from the jailer, either he or his grandfather would ease back the lever controlling the trap-door and dispatch the condemned prisoner to his death.

    "There is a lot of process that goes into getting the noose correct so that the person does not suffer," he said. "I know, because of my grandfather. He explained to me the science behind it."

    India is in search of an executioner and Mr Kumar may be in the frame. The nation has long been in two minds about the death penalty, reserved only for "the rarest of rare" cases, and has not executed anyone for seven years. There are presently an estimated 350 prisoners on death row, each uncertain of his fate.

    But amid growing pressure on the government to show it is being "tough" on security and following the recent rejection of mercy petitions of several death row inmates, there is the potential for half-a-dozen or so executions within a matter of months.

    A pressing problem is the shortage of hangmen. When President Pratibha Patil announced in May she was rejecting the appeals of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar and Mahendra Nath Das, the prison authorities in Assam, where Das is held, admitted they retained no hangman and asked other jails across the country to lend them one. At Tihar jail in Delhi, where Bhullar is held, officials have also said they have no executioner and will have to borrow one.

    "The last execution here was 22 years ago and for us to keep an executioner on the payroll" makes no sense, said the jail's legal officer, Sunil Gupta.

    Mr Kumar is adamant he should be the man to fill the void. His grandfather and later his father were both retained by the authorities at Meerut jail as its official hangman. Indeed, his grandfather was a celebrated executioner, he said; in 1989 it was he who hanged Satwant Singh, one of the two bodyguards who assassinated prime minister Indira Gandhi five years earlier. Following his father's death this spring, Mr Kumar applied for the position. So far, the 48-year-old has undergone two trial demonstrations.

    Seated on a bench at his neat home two hours north-east of Delhi, Mr Kumar, who has seven children, said he had assisted his grandfather on a number of occasions and claimed to have even carried out one hanging by himself when his grandfather was unable to attend. The first time he helped was the execution in 1992 of two brothers convicted of murder. "I tied the feet of the two men. My grandfather fitted the noose," he said. "After that first execution there was no emotional feeling. I was not frightened because I had wanted to do it since childhood."

    Not everyone feels that way. The man who carried out India's most recent execution was Nata Mullick, who also hailed from a family of hangmen and who in 2004 put to death a man convicted of the rape and murder of a schoolgirl. Before he died last year, he said that he was haunted by the faces of the 25 people he had hanged.

    After that last execution several people in West Bengal were reportedly strangled to death by accident, after Mr Mullick demonstrated for TV cameras how to tie a noose and triggered a wave of "pretend hangings". Mr Mullick's nephew was to have inherited the position but, having assisted at the 2004 hanging, found himself ill-suited. Now the opportunity has fallen to his son, Mahadeb Mullick, who has said he is unenthusiastic about taking on the role given the way "hangmen are used and discarded".

    Others worry about bad karma and its possible impact on a future reincarnation. Some fear social exclusion. Another veteran hangman or "jallad", Amhadullah Khan, 58, from Lucknow, also doubts he will ever again work the gallows' lever. Speaking by phone, Mr Khan said somewhat angrily: "I don't want to speak to the media about the barbaric profession. I don't support capital punishment. I don't remember how many people I have hanged."

    The first of a flurry of executions may take place in Tamil Nadu, where three men convicted of plotting the 1991 assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, the son of Indira Gandhi, were scheduled to have been hanged on September 9 until a court ordered a two-month stay. Jail officials have said a member of the prison staff will carry out the executions if they proceed.

    Finding a hangman is not the only issue. In Tamil Nadu local politicians have passed a resolution calling for clemency for the men, Murugan, Chinna Santhan and Perarivalan, who have spent years on death row. The move has put considerable pressure on the ruling Congress Party.

    There are similar issues surrounding the possible execution of Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, who has always denied his role in a deadly 1993 bomb attack for which he was sentenced to death and whose supporters have fought a vociferous campaign for his freedom.

    And in Kashmir, officials have warned that if the authorities proceed with the hanging of Afzal Guru, who was convicted of a 2001 attack on the Indian parliament but who maintains his innocence, there will be a serious backlash. "Kashmir will erupt if he is hanged," the moderate separatist leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, told reporters. Yet there is also pressure on the government to show a strong hand on matters of security.

    Amid allegations it has not done enough to prevent terror attacks, such as the bomb set off outside the Delhi high court last week killing more than a dozen people, the government seeks to project itself as being firm.

    Following the conviction of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving member of the group of militants that attacked Mumbai in 2008, there was talk of a fast-track execution process but nothing has come of it so far.

    As it is, the fear of further attacks has created a mood for revenge, admit campaigners against the death penalty. "There has been increasing criticism from the opposition that the government is soft on terror, often citing the failure to hang those convicted for terrorism. Unfortunately, a series of recent violent attacks have also led to public outrage and rather bloodthirsty demands for retribution," said Meenakshi Ganguly, of Human Rights Watch.

    Pavan Kumar is happy to share the tricks of the trade. While some hangmen are said to have used clarified butter or crushed bananas to help work the noose, Mr Kumar says his family never did, and instead placed the loop inside an empty pitcher to help it retain its shape.

    But if he is to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and father and secure the monthly retainer of 3,000 Indian rupees (40) it is the officials at Meerut jail he must impress.

    Things have not gone entirely smoothly. Mr SK Kesarwani, superintendent of the white-washed prison that was at the centre of the 1857 uprising against British forces by Indian troops, declined a request to visit the prison's gallows where Mr Kumar recently tried to show his prowess by "executing" a 150lb sack of sand. But he played a video of Mr Kumar's performance on his mobile phone

    The footage showed Mr Kumar standing atop of a gallows set over a trap-door and checking the noose before releasing the lever. The sack of sand thudded to the floor with the rope still slightly loose, indicating that had it been a real execution the prisoner would most likely not have been killed. He had misjudged the length of rope required, said Mr Kesarwarni. "The technicalities are [not correct]."

    The superintendent has earned himself something of a reputation for progressive thinking at the prison, where there are two inmates on death row, and he said he was personally opposed to capital punishment.

    However, he recognised it was something he had to prepare for. He admitted too, that given the scarcity of candidates for the position of hangman, he would be obliged to persist, at least for now, with Mr Kumar. "We don't have any options," he sighed. "That is why we are willing to give him another trial."


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