308 convicts await death ahead of Kasab

Posted by on May 6th, 2010 and filed under Defence/Security, Immigration/Law/Rights, Indo-Pak/Pakistan, Terrorism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) Pakistani national Ajmal Amir Kasab Thursday sentenced to death for the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack joined 308 other convicts, lodged in various jails in India, awaiting execution.

The long list of convicts on death row means that Kasab’s execution, if at all it takes place, may not happen soon.

Kasab, whose death penalty awarded by a trial court will have to be endorsed by a higher court, will also have the option of moving the Supreme Court against it.

At least 256 condemned convicts are currently awaiting Supreme Court’s and high courts’ endorsement to their death sentence handed down by trial courts.

A total of 52 other condemned prisoners, have filed mercy petitions before the central government seeking pardon or reduction of their sentence.

Kasab has ahead of him people like Mohammed Afzal Guru, the terrorist condemned to the gallows for his involvement in the December 2001 Parliament attack case, awaiting the President’s decision on his mercy petition.

Those on the death row ahead of Kasab also include fugitive underworld don Tiger Memon’s brother Yaqub Memon and 11 others, awaiting the apex court’s decision on the death sentence awarded by an Mumbai anti-terror court in December 2006 for their role in the serial bombing in the metropolis that killed 257 people and maimed 713 others.

Union Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran in his reply to a question on the total number of people on death row told the Lok Sabha in December 2009 that ‘as on Dec 31, 2007, 308 convicts are lodged in various jails facing death penalty in the country, while 52 death convicts have approached the Rashtrapati Bhawan with a mercy petition.’

According to the home ministry’s fact-sheet on people on death row, a total of 29 mercy petitions involving 52 condemned prisoners, seeking pardon, under Article 72 of the constitution are still pending with the central Government.

At least seven of the condemned prisoners – six from Uttar Pradesh and one from Tamil Nadu – have been able to survive for over 12 years as their mercy pleas have remained pending with Rashtrapati Bhawan since 1998.

Seven others, figuring in five other mercy petitions filed in 1999, have been able to survive for 11 years as the president is yet to take any decision on their mercy pleas.

Five condemned prisoners who filed their mercy petitions in 2000 and 25 other condemned prisoners who filed their mercy petitions between 2001-06 are also awaiting a decision from the president.

During the last decade (1990-2000), the president rejected seven mercy petitions and commuted the sentences of two, while in the previous decade (1980-89) out of 45 mercy petitions, 41 were rejected and four commuted.

According to the ministry, 256 convicts awarded death sentences by various lower courts are awaiting higher courts’ decision on their appeals challenging the sentences — they include 12 convicts sentenced to death for their role in the 1993 serial terror bombings in Mumbai.

Whether awaiting higher courts’ endorsement of his death penalty or seeking mercy later, Kasab will be in the august company of parliamentarian Anand Mohan Singh, former Bihar minister Akhlaq Ahmed and former state legislator Arun Kumar, sentenced to death for lynching IAS officer and Gopalganj district magistrate G. Krishnaiya in 1994 in Bihar.

The politicians condemned to the gallows also included three AIADMK workers who set ablaze a bus, killing three students in Dharmapuri in 2000.

The others who got death penalties in recent past include a Lakhimpur Kheri petrol pump owner for killing Indian Oil Corporation officer Manjunath Dubey and two Babbar Khalsa militants who assassinated former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh.

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