Friday, February 10, 2012

SC notices to Centre, State on death penalty

The Assam Tribune: Guwahati, Wednesday, February 08, 2012

NEW DELHI, Feb. 7 – The Supreme Court has issued notices to Assam Government and the Centre in response to a petition filed by Kusumbala Das, mother of Mahendra Nath Das, who is on death row.

His mother has through her counsel pleaded that his death penalty be commuted to life sentence. The case was raised as an urgent matter in the Court of Justice AK Patnaik and Justice S Kumar.

After hearing the petitioner, the Bench issued notices to Government of Assam and the Union Government.

Das is awaiting execution in Jorhat, after the President of India rejected his mercy petition. This would be the first execution in India since 2004.

Das was sentenced to death in August 1997 for a murder in Guwahati, Assam in 1996. His mercy petition was rejected by the President of India in May 2011, following the advice of theGovernment of India.

The judicial process was completed after the High Court confirmed the death sentence in February 1998 and the Supreme Court rejected the appeal in May 1999. A mercy petition was sent to the Government of India in 2000.

Amnesty International is concerned that the eleven-year delay in announcing the verdict of the mercy petition and the resultant prolonged stay ondeath row may amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

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