Friday, May 2, 2014
28 April 2014 Last updated at 08:13 GMT
India's Supreme Court has put on hold the death sentence of Mohammad Arif, a Pakistani man convicted of attacking Delhi's Red Fort in December 2000.
The judges accepted his lawyer's argument that there had been a long delay in deciding his case.
Arif, also known as Ashfaq Arif, was a Lashkar-e-Taiba militant who was convicted in 2005. The Supreme Court confirmed his sentence in 2011. Three people died in the attack on the 17th Century fort, an Indian landmark. Arif's is the latest in a series of high-profile cases in which the Supreme Court has commuted death sentences because those facing execution have spent so long on death row.
In February, the court commuted the death sentences of three men convicted of plotting the 1991 assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. And in January, the court had commuted the sentences of 15 death row prisoners to life in jail on the grounds of delay. On Monday, the Supreme Court ordered that a larger "constitution" bench be set up to decide Arif's case.
His lawyer had argued in the court that hanging Arif would be a violation of the constitution since he had already spent more than 13 years in jail. Arif was arrested along with his wife, Rehmana Yousuf Farooqui, four days after the Red Fort attack and found guilty of murder, criminal conspiracy and waging war against India. The trial court convicted him and six others in October 2005. He was sentenced to death, while the others received jail terms of varying lengths.
In September 2007, the high court upheld his conviction, but ordered the release of the others for lack of evidence. The Supreme Court confirmed his death penalty in 2011.
India rarely carries out executions, which are often delayed indefinitely or commuted by the president.
Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-27184340 [accessed on 2nd May 2014]
Abhinav Garg,TNN | May 2, 2014, 03.32 AM IST
NEW DELHI: Despite the brutality of the crime committed by them, Delhi high court has commuted the death sentence of three people accused of murder based on their conduct in jail and the possibility of reform.
A division bench of justices S Muralidhar and Mukta Gupta commuted the death penalty awarded to a man and his relatives for killing the man's wife saying the case did not fall in the "rarest of the rare category" warranting capital punishment.
"The nominal roll of the three accused shows that their conduct in jail is satisfactory thus far. None of them were previous offenders. More importantly there was no material whatsoever placed by the state before the trial court or this court which would help conclude that the three accused are likely to commit a crime in the future or are incapable of being reformed," the bench noted while reducing the punishment.
The high court also faulted the trial court for ignoring mitigating circumstances and said the court appears to have taken note essentially of the fact that an innocent, helpless woman has been murdered in a very brutal manner. "The trial court has not analyzed the role of each of the accused and the mitigating factors vis-a-vis each of them," it added saying it is "not persuaded to hold that the crime can be characterized as a 'rarest of rare' case".
The bench commuted the death sentence of Surender Singh, his brother Narender Singh and their mother Lakhpati Devi. They have been accused of killing Urmila, Surender's wife. Appearing for the prosecution, additional public prosecutor Varun Goswamy had submitted that the murder fell in the category of "rarest of rare" case as a helpless woman was murdered by the three accused in the "most brutal and dastardly manner".
However, the bench said, "Unless the court is satisfied that there are absolutely no mitigating circumstances and that the case falls under the category of 'rarest of rare', it should not award the death sentence."
Urmila was murdered by her husband and two relatives on the intervening night of October 15/16, 2007 in front of her three children after she demanded that a piece of land be transferred in her childrens' name.
Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/City/Delhi/HC-commutes-death-penalty-of-3/articleshow/34504084.cms [accessed 2nd May 2014]
Press Trust of India | Krishnagar (WB)
April 29, 2014 Last Updated at 19:40 IST
A man was sentenced to death by a Nadia district court for raping and killing a minor girl.
Additional District Session Judge Parthasarathi Mukhopadhyay yesterday awarded capital punishment to Bimal Sardar (24) and imposed a fine of Rs 2.20 lakh. According to prosecution, the victim girl, a student of class VII, did not return home after completion of her examination on June 10 last year.
Locals then beat him up and handed him over to the police.
Her almost naked body, with the throat slit, was found in a field the next day by Sardar who informed local people about it.
The locals, however, got suspicious of Sardar's behaviour and started grilling him. At one point of time, he broke down and confessed that he had raped and killed her.
Source:http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/man-gets-death-sentence-in-rape-and-murder-case-114042901266_1.html [accessed on 2nd May 2014]
Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-4-25 16:16:12
India's Supreme Court Friday refused to release seven assassins of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi from prison, and referred the case to a five-judge Constitution Bench.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, also framed seven questions to be addressed by the Constitution Bench, including whether after commutation of the death sentence into life in jail, they can be released, and whether the central government or the Tamil Nadu government can do so.
The seven assassins are currently lodged in a jail in the southern state of Tamil Nadu and each has spent more than 20 years in prison.
In February, the Supreme Court had commuted the death sentences of three of the convicts -- Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan -- who were on death row, citing an inordinate delay in disposing of their mercy petitions by the Indian president.
The other four assassins in the case have been serving life imprisonment.
After the apex court ruling, Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa had said all the seven would be released, compelling the central government to challenge the order.
"The release of the killers of a former prime minister of India and our great leader, as well as several other innocent Indians, would be contrary to all principles of justice," Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said in response to Jayalalithaa's announcement.
Rajiv Gandhi, who was India's prime minister from 1984 to 1989, was killed by Dhanu, a Sri Lankan suicide bomber from the now- defunct Tamil Tigers, during an election rally at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu on May 21, 1991.
Some 26 people were convicted in the case in 1998 by a special court which sentenced all of them to death. But, in 1999, the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentences of four -- Murugan, Santhan, Perarivalan and Nalini.
However, Nalini's death sentence was commuted to life in jail, following the intervention of Rajiv Gandhi's widow and ruling Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, as she gave birth to a girl in jail.
Source: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/856820.shtml#.U2PuGfmSwrU [accessed on 2nd May 2014]]