New Delhi, December 22, 2012 (PPI-OT): The New Delhi-based rights organisation, People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), has termed awarding of death sentence to the Kashmiri youth, Mohammad Afzal Guru, as ‘unfair and unjust’ and demanded the commutation of his death sentence. Afzal Guru is facing death sentence in a false case of attack on Indian Parliament. A spokesman of PUDR in a statement said that after closely following the case of Guru, they had observed the denial of justice to him. “We therefore appeal for clemency of Afzal. Guru’s case has been embedded in a politics of hate from the very moment of his arrest,” he maintained.
The spokesman said that the case against Afzal had been based on faulty investigation, circumstantial evidence, and the suspicious role of the police. “He was not present at the site of the shooting, nor could he be associated with any unlawful organization. The court rejected out rightly the defense’s argument that Afzal’s confession permissible as evidence under POTA and the fulcrum of the prosecution’s case had been extracted under duress and torture”.
“The High Court in its judgment in parliament attack case acquitted one of the accused, who was awarded death penalty by the Special Court; reduced another’s sentence to 10 years’ imprisonment, and acquitted a third, who had earlier been sentenced to five years. In what was clearly a ‘balancing act’, the High Court enhanced Afzal’s sentence to three life terms and two death sentences. Afzal thus became the scapegoat of a judiciary trying to balance justice and populist sentiment,” he added.
The spokesman further said that Afzal’s case cast doubt on the free and fair trial for those tried under anti-terror laws, and sections under the IPC on waging war and conspiracy. “The Supreme Court in its August 4, 2005, judgment sentenced Afzal to death even while accepting that there was no evidence that Guru belonged to any militant group or organization. The judgment also states that death penalty was the just response in this case as the ‘collective consciousness of society’ must be satisfied,” he pointed out.
The spokesman demanded commutation of Afzal Guru’s sentence, clemency for Guru on the basis of prolonged incarceration, clemency for all death row victims, compensation for those wrongfully arrested and incarcerated and abolition of capital punishment by the Indian government.
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