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Nine prisoners at risk of execution in India: Amnesty International

February 26, 2013

Statement put out on 21 February by AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Following two recent secret executions in India, there is fear that the Indian authorities may execute nine other prisoners whose petitions for mercy have not yet been ruled on.

The mercy petitions of eight men and one woman are pending with either the Union Home Ministry or the President: Gurmeet Singh, Dharampal, Suresh, Ramji, Praveen Kumar, Jafar Ali, Sonia (f), Sanjeev, and Sundar Singh. Ministers have publicly stated that decisions on some of these petitions will be made soon, putting the nine in imminent danger of execution.

The manner in which the Indian authorities have dealt with executions recently raises serious concerns and increases the risk of executions. Mercy petitions are generally considered in the order in which they are filed. However, the authorities have started to consider cases out of turn, making it difficult to determine which case is being considered when. The two recent executions were announced to the public after being carried out; this is in violation of international standards on the use of the death penalty and makes timely interventions before executions impossible. This means we can no longer know which mercy petitions are being considered, when decisions are be made, and whether these decisions would be public.

The Indian government executed Pakistani national Ajmal Kasab on 21 November 2012, for involvement in the 2008 Mumbai multiple attacks. This was the first execution in India in eight years. On 9 February, they executed Afzal Guru, convicted for the attack on India’s parliament in December 2001. These two executions were considered out of turn and were not announced to the public until they had been carried out. The relevant government minister publicly stated that no prior announcement was made in Ajmal Kasab’s case in order to avoid intervention from human rights activists. In Afzal Guru’s case, the family only received notification of the execution after it had been carried out, and the body was not returned to them for burial.

Please write immediately in English or your own language:

Urging Indian authorities to stop plans to execute Gurmeet Singh, Dharampal, Suresh, Ramji, Praveen Kumar, Jafar Ali, Sonia, Sanjeev, and Sundar Singh, and all other executions;

Urging Indian authorities to commute all death sentences to terms of imprisonment;

Reminding Indian Authorities that the UN General Assembly has called repeatedly for a moratorium on executions, with a view to abolishing the death penalty, and pointing out that India’s decision to resume executions has set it against the global trend towards abolition.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 4 APRIL 2013 TO:

President

President Pranab Mukherjee
Rashtrapati Bhavan
New Delhi 110 004, India
Fax: +91 11 23017290;
+91 11 23017824
Email: (via website)
http://www.helpline.rb.nic.in/
Salutation: Dear President Mukherjee

Prime Minister

Dr. Manmohan Singh
South Block, Raisina Hill
New Delhi 110 001, India
Email: (via website)
http://pmindia.gov.in/feedback.php
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister

And copies to:
Minister of Home Affairs
Sushilkumar Shinde
104, North Block,
Central Secretariat
New Delhi 110001, India
Fax: + 91 11 23094221
Email: hm@nic.in

Salutation: Dear Minister�

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the second update of UA 337/12. Further information: http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA20/004/2013/en

Additional Information

Since taking office in July 2012, India’s President Pranab Mukherjee, has rejected the mercy petitions of seven people on death row and commuted the death sentence of one prisoner, after which the two secret executions took place. The five remaining prisoners whose mercy petitions have now been rejected are: Saibanna Ningappa Natikar, Gnanprakasham, Simon, Meesekar Madaiah, and Bilavendran.

Before the two executions in 2012, the last execution in India had been that of Dhananjoy Chatterjee in August 2004. This move to resume executions has set the country against the regional and global trend towards abolition of the death penalty. The authorities used to make information about the rejection of mercy petitions and dates of execution available to the public before any executions. In resolution 2005/59 the UN Commission on Human Rights called upon all states that still maintain the death penalty “to make available to the public information with regard to the imposition of the death penalty and to any scheduled execution”.

In total, 140 countries are abolitionist in law or in practice. In 2011, only 21 states in the world executed, meaning that 90 per cent of the world was execution-free. Out of 41 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, 17 have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, 10 are abolitionist in practice and one – Fiji – uses the death penalty only for exceptional military crimes. Over the past 10 years, four Asia-Pacific countries abolished the death penalty for all crimes: Bhutan and Samoa in 2004, the Philippines in 2006 and the Cook Islands in 2007. In 2012, Mongolia became a State Party to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.

UN bodies and mechanisms have repeatedly called upon member states to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty, including through the adoption of four UN General Assembly resolutions, in December 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012. India voted against all four resolutions. In a general comment on Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a State Party, the UN Human Rights Committee stated that Article 6 “refers generally to abolition [of the death penalty] in terms which strongly suggest … that abolition is desirable. The Committee concludes that all measures of abolition should be considered as progress in the enjoyment of the right to life.”

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases as a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, regardless of the nature of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.

Names: Gurmeet Singh, Dharampal, Suresh, Ramji, Praveen Kumar, Jafar Ali, Sonia (f), Sanjeev, and Sundar Singh

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2013 7:09 AM

    The President Of India ,
    Rt Hon Mr. Pranab Mukherjee
    Rashtrapati Bhavan
    New Delhi 110 004, India

    Reg: Planned Excutions’ Imminence  

    Yore Excellency,

    It is to Urge you to stop plans to execute Gurmeet Singh, Dharampal, Suresh, Ramji, Praveen Kumar, Jafar Ali, Sonia, Sanjeev, and Sundar Singh and all others  including Davinderpal Singh Bhuller, Jagtar Singh Hawara  , Balwant Singh Rajoana.  On behalf of the Sikh Community of Metro-Montreal, Quebec ,  Canada  it is humbly urged to please  commute all death sentences to terms of imprisonment ;

    Humbly reminding your High Offices that the UN General Assembly has called repeatedly for a moratorium on executions, with a view to abolishing the death penalty, and pointing out that India’s decision to resume executions has set it against the global trend towards abolition.

    Managment;

  2. March 1, 2013 10:09 PM

    Justice without Mercy is an Affront to God.
    But
    Mercy without Justice is a Sin in the eyes of God.

    (1) Gurmeet Singh -Convicted in the 1986 murder of 13 people of a family. Submitted mercy petition in 2007.
    In August 1986, Gurmeet Singh, helped by his friend Lakha Singh, attacked members of his own family. They killed 13 people, including eight children, with swords. Elders in the family had — it would be established during trial — alleged Lakha had a sexual relationship with Gurmeet’s newly-wed wife Biri. Their tauntings provoked Gurmeet, resulting in the carnage. (The Hindu-PILIBHIT, October 22, 2011 )
    (2) Dharampal : Convicted for the 1993 murder of five people, submitted his mercy petition in 2000.
    Convict who was out on bail on rape charge killed five members of victim’s family. Along with his brother Nirmal, murdered the entire family of the deceased Tale Ram. In January 1991 a complaint was lodged by Punam that Dharampal had committed rape on her. In the said proceeding Dharampal had given a threat that if anybody gives evidence in the proceeding then he will not be spared. Notwithstanding the aforesaid threat the victim Punam deposed in the Court and ultimately Dharampal was convicted by the learned Trial Judge and was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 10 years. Accused Dharampal preferred an appeal against the said conviction and sentence and the High Court after entertaining the appeal released him on bail by order dated 25th May, 1993. Dharampal furnished the bail bond on 4th June, 1993 and was released, Punam and her husband came to sTale Ram on 9th June, 1993. On the same day after finishing their dinner both Punam and her husband went to the roof top of the house of Tale Ram and slept there. At about 3.30 a.m. hearing some voice from the courtyard where Punam’s father and all other family members had taken rest Punam and her husband got up and they saw accused Dharampal was armed with Kulhari and accused Nirmal was armed with Burchi and they have been giving successive blows on all the family members who were sleeping down below in the courtyard. Punam and her husband were so terrified that they could not raise any alarm and after the two accused persons left the scene of occurrence they came down and found all the 5 family members namely, father Tale Ram, mother Krishna, sister Neelam and brothers Parveen and Tinue are dead. Punam then went to approach their neighbours but none came forward and she became unconscious. She regained consciousness at about 10.00 a.m. and then went to the village Sarpanch and accompanied by him went to the Police Station Shahpur and gave a report which was stated as First Information Report. On the basis of the said First Information Report the police registered a case and started investigation and on completion of the investigation chargesheet was filed. (http://indiankanoon.org/doc/1768660/)
    (3) Suresh and Ramji: Convicted for the 1996 murder of five people of their younger brother’s family.
    “It is a case in which five persons were murdered and the sixth one (Jitendra) sustained injuries. The deceased of the incident were (1) Ramesh (36 years). (2) Smt. Ganga Dei (28 years) wife of Ramesh, (3) Bheem (3 years) son of Ramesh and Ganga Dei, (4) Km. Manisha (9 years) daughter of Ramesh and Ganga Dei and (5) Km. Anisha (one year) daughter of Ramesh and Ganga Dei. Jitendra (8) injuried is also the son of Ramesh and Ganga Dei.” Reason for murder ? “Suresh (accused-appellant) was not satisfied with the partition of that land and was insisting for entire land.” (http://indiankanoon.org/doc/943114/)
    (4) Praveen Kumar: Convicted in the 1993 murder of a family of four. He submitted his mercy petition in 2005. The case is pending with the home ministry.
    About 3 years prior to the date of the incident the appellant used to stay with said Appi in her house at Vamanjur, Mangalore Taluk, doing tailoring work. After his marriage he shifted his residence to his native place namely Uppinangadi. Said deceased Smt. Appi had 3 sons and 3 daughters. Her one daughter Shakuntala and her daughter i.e. the grand-daughter of Appi by name Deepika .The accused is charged for murder of Appi Sherigarthy, her son Govinda, her daughter Shakuntala and her granddaughter Deepika on the intervening night of 23/24-2-1994 in the house of deceased Appi Sherigarthy situate at Vamanjur in Tiruvail Village of Mangalore Taluk, committed robbery of gold ornaments, silver articles, wrist watches and cash of Rs. 7,600/- belonging to the deceased Shakuntala. Hence, it is the case of the prosecution that the murder and robbery are integral parts of one and the same transaction and the stolen properties have been recovered from the possession of the accused. (Further details at http://indiankanoon.org/doc/1180479/)
    (5) Jafar Ali: Convicted for the 2002 murder of his wife and five daughters. He submitted his mercy petition in 2006:
    Unable t locate case details
    (6)Sonia and Sanjeev: Convicted for the 2001 murder of her step brother and his family. Their mercy petition was submitted in 2008.

    “The instant case is one wherein accused Sonia, along with accused Sanjiv [her husband] has not only put an end to the lives of her step brother and his whole family, which included three tiny tots of 45 days, 2-1/2 years and 4 years, but also her own father, mother and sister in a very diabolic manner so as to deprive her father from giving the property to her step brother and his family. The fact that murders in question were committed in such a diabolic manner while the victims were sleeping, without any provocation whatsoever from the victims’ side indicates the cold-blooded and premeditated approach of the accused to cause death of the victims. The brutality of the act is amplified by the grotesque and revolting manner in which the helpless victims have been murdered which is indicative of the fact that the act was diabolic of most superlative degree in conception and cruel in execution and that both the accused persons are not possessed of the basic humanness and completely lack the psyche or mind set which can be amenable for any reformation. If this act is not revolting or dastardly, it is beyond comprehension as to what other act can be so. In view of these facts we are of the view that there would be failure of justice in case death sentence is not awarded in the present case as the same undoubtedly falls within the category of rarest of rare cases and the High Court was not justified in commuting death sentence into life imprisonment.” (Details at http://www.indiankanoon.org/doc/1384369/)
    (7)Sunder Singh: Convicted for the 1989 case where six members of a family were doused in petrol and set ablaze.:
    “The incident in this case had taken place on 30.6.1989 in village Mahargheti, Patwari Circle Dangoli in the newly formed District Bageshwar (which was part of District Almora 2
    at the time of incident). In this ghastly incident, Pratap Singh, his wife Nandi Devi, his elder son Balwant Singh (aged about 28 years), another son Prem Singh (aged about 19 years), daughter Kamla (aged about 16 years) lost their lives while wife of Balwant Singh, namely, Vimla Devi (PW-1) sustained grievous burn injuries. Five victims who lost their lives including Balwant Singh were roasted alive and died either on the spot or while being taken to the hospital or in the hospital. Balwant Singh, however, was almost beheaded while he also suffered the burn injuries. The prosecution alleged that this incident took place at about 10 p.m. when all the victims were taking their dinner in the ground floor room of their house. The appellant/accused came there with jerry can containing petrol and burning torch and threw the petrol in the room and after setting fire by torch, he shut the door of the room. Though Balwant Singh was in flames he managed to come out of the room by opening the door. However, as soon as he came out of the room, the accused who was still waiting there gave him a sword blow on the neck because of which he fell down dead out side the house. The other five family members who sustained severe burns also died barring Vimla Devi who alone survived. Nandi Devi died on the way to the Primary Health Centre at Baijnath while Pratap Singh also died there itself. Kamla and Prem Singh died in the District hospital, Almora later on, where they were shifted from Baijnath.” (Further details-http://indiankanoon.org/doc/617176/)

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