India commutes death sentence for Rajiv Gandhi killersAgence France-Presse. New Delhi / New Age Online
India's Supreme Court commuted the death sentences Tuesday for three killers of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, citing delays in the case 23 years after he was assassinated by a Tamil suicide bomber.
The top court headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam handed the three life in prison on the grounds that successive Indian presidents had taken 11 years to decide their pleas for mercy against execution.
"We implore the government to render advice in a reasonable amount of time for taking a decision on mercy pleas," Sathasivam told the court in announcing the judgement.
A lawyer for the three men -- Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan, all known by single names -- hailed the judgement as "humane," adding that they were now living in hope of one day being released from prison.
"There is hope that the convicts will walk out of jail. The remission will be decided by the state government of Tamil Nadu," Yug Chaudhary told NDTV outside the court.
"It is time that the death penatlty is abolished in this country," he added.
The decision comes after the Supreme Court issued a landmark judgement last month that places new restrictions on executing prisoners in the world's biggest democracy.
The top court then commuted the death sentences of 15 convicts, ruling that "inordinate and inexplicable" delays in carrying out a death sentence were grounds for commuting a sentence.
The three at the centre of Tuesday's ruling were members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a Sri Lankan-based separatist movement, which was wiped out by Sri Lankan forces in 2009.
The men were convicted of plotting the May 21, 1991 murder of Gandhi by a female suicide bomber, but their appeal to the president in 2000 to spare them the hangman's noose was only finally rejected in 2011.
The lengthy delay contrasts sharply with the execution of Kashmiri Muslim separatist Mohammed Afzal Guru last year over a deadly raid on the Indian parliament in 2001 that left 10 people dead.
Successive governments in the world's largest democracy have long been wary of upsetting the large Tamil population in the south where the trio's case has become a cause celebre.
India had an eight-year unofficial moratorium on carrying out the death penalty from 2004 to 2012, with only three people executed in the last decade. The delays have led to a buildup of more than 400 prisoners on death row.
comments powered by Disqus
Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Tuesday wrote a letter to the Election Commission accusing it of turning a deaf ear to the ‘ongoing harassment’ to the candidates belonging to the BNP-led alliance for the upazila council elections... Full story
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Tuesday disposed of a petition filed by former army chief Moeen U Ahmed challenging a High Court order that had rejected his appeal seeking dismissal of a defamation suit against him... Full story
Rapid Action Battalion on Tuesday arrested a person at Majhipara in Tangail who the RAB said is the main ‘receiver and propagator’ of the recent sensational ‘Zihadi threat against Bangladesh’ video... Full story
The government on Tuesday declared the newspaper sector as an industry separating it from the service sector in an effort to ensure a stronger and vibrant media industry in the country... Full story
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina said her newly elected government gives utmost importance to strengthening brotherly relations with Muslim countries and boost ties with them in the fields... Full story
A local leader of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) was chopped and shot to death in Shibpur upazila Tuesday afternoon.... Full story
A division bench of the High Court on Tuesday summoned the investigation officer (IO) of journalist couple Sagar and Runi murder case to appear before it on March 5 with an update... Full story
The founder of a television station for Britain's Bangladeshi community has been jailed for three years over a crash-for-cash insurance scam... Full story
A Metropolitan Magistrate Court in Dhaka on Tuesday took charges into cognizance against eight people including the chief of Islamist outfit Ansar Ullah Bangla Team, Jasimuddin Rahmani, for allegedly... Full story
Safety experts hired by Western retailers such as H&M and Benetton will begin a mass inspection Wednesday of clothing factories in Bangladesh, nearly a year after 1,135 garment workers... Full story
Robbers looted Tk one lakh cash and other valuables, including gold ornaments, from a flat in Islambagh area of the old part of Dhaka city inflicting splinter injuries on 3/4 people early... Full story
A prosecution witness against Jamaat leader Mir Quasem Ali on Tuesday testified that the Al-Badr Bahini men led by Quasem abducted his father Ranjit Das, better known as Latu, in November 1971 from their Chittagong residence, kept him confined... Full story
A mobile court here on Monday sentenced two BNP men to 17 days’ imprisonment each for distributing some leaflets with offensive remarks against a vice-chairman candidate in Manikchhari... Full story
Unidentified miscreants early Tuesday set fire to the camp office of the ruling Awami League-supported chairman candidate in Ashashuni upazila, which will go to polls... Full story
Indian police killed seven Maoists Tuesday during an operation hailed as a victory for security forces in a rebel stronghold known as the ‘Red Corridor’. Full story
India's Supreme Court commuted the death sentences Tuesday for three killers of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, citing delays in the case 23 years after he was assassinated by a Tamil suicide bomber. Full story
US Trade Ambassador Michael Froman received his European counterpart Karel De Gucht in Washington Monday, preparing for next month's fourth round of talks on creating the world's largest free-trade area. Full story
Malaysia is the world's friendliest destination for Muslim travellers, according to a survey released Tuesday, but Japan has shown most improvement as it ramps up efforts... Full story
South Korean president Park Geun-Hye Tuesday called for a full investigation into the collapse of a student-packed auditorium near the southern city of Gyeongju that killed at least 10 people... Full story
Dozens of Thai opposition protesters were arrested Tuesday during a police operation to seize back besieged state buildings in the capital Bangkok, sparking a tense standoff near... Full story