Rights Groups Ask India to Abolish Death Penalty
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In the wake of the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, global rights groups have asked India to end the use of executions and move towards abolishing the death penalty.

"Questions need to be asked why the Indian government executed Afzal Guru now," New York-based Human Rights Watch's South Asia director Meenakshi Ganguly said.

"No one argues that those who engage in serious crimes shouldn't be punished, but the death penalty is brutal and irreversible, and there is no convincing evidence to suggest it serves as a deterrent," Ganguly said.

The group said it opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as an inherently irreversible, inhumane punishment.

The hanging of Guru comes just three months after India executed the lone surviving 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab in a Pune jail.

"India should end this distressing use of executions as a way to satisfy some public opinion," said Ganguly.

"It should instead join the nations that have chosen to abolish capital punishment," she said.

Guru's execution makes it more urgent for India to reinstate its previous informal moratorium on executions as a step towards abolishing the death penalty, the rights group added.

Meanwhile, London-based Amnesty International has also expressed concern over Afzal's execution.

"We condemn the execution in the strongest possible terms. This very regrettably puts India in opposition to the global trend towards moving away from death penalty", said Shashikumar Velath, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India.

He alleged "serious questions have been raised about the fairness of Afzal Guru's trial. He did not receive legal representation of his choice or a lawyer with adequate experience at the trial stage. These concerns were not addressed".

"Before Ajmal Kasab's execution in November, Indian authorities used to make information about the rejection of mercy petitions and dates of execution available to the public prior to any executions. The new practice of carrying out executions in secret is highly disturbing," Velath said.

Guru was executed early yesterday for providing logistical support in the attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001, in which five heavily-armed gunmen entered the complex and opened fire indiscriminately, killing nine, including six security personnel, two parliament guards, and a gardener. All five attackers were also killed.
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Daily Mail

Feb 11, 2013
12:46 PM

freaking people why don't the go to america where 40+ executons happened, china more than 100, and so on. india just had 2 in decades. these people have ulterior motives and many fall for their lies. these people never care about the victims of these terrorists or murderers. they never stand for the rights of victims. so shut the hell up.

Indian, Bangalore
Feb 11, 2013
11:19 AM

Two hangings - Kasab and Guru - in such a short span ?

We could have avoided one hanging atleast, by asking Kasab to shoot Afzal Guru and then hanging Kasab.

K.Suresh, Bangalore
Feb 11, 2013
10:33 AM

>>Absolutely correct. Now please explain how a person incarcerated for life (ie till he dies) is a danger to society.

We are a soft state and Masood Azhar example should suffice on how sentence for life can still be a danger to society. The death penalty should remain in our statute books but we should discard hanging which is barbaric and go for lethal injection.

RSM, Delhi
Feb 11, 2013
01:36 AM

Death penalty will be abolished when terrorists stop killing innocents.  Then there is no reason to have a death sentence.

Death penalty cannot be viewed solely as deterrence. It is the punishment imposed on someone who took an innocent life.  We deny such people a life, when they took the same life away from another who did not deserve to lose it in the first place. 

Non Fanatic, London
Feb 10, 2013
10:31 PM

 Bahu Virupaksha,

Society has the right to protect itself from dangerous elements.

Absolutely correct. Now please explain how a person incarcerated for life (ie till he dies) is a danger to society.

Chennai, India
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