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Posted on Nov 29, 10:20PM | IANS
The People's Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) Thursday condemned the hanging of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab and alleged that legal procedures were violated in his execution.
"PUDR condemns the unjust hanging of Kasab and demands an enquiry into the failure of the judiciary and executive to maintain procedural fairness," it said in a statement.
"Since, in a democratic republic, clemency powers should be exercised on behalf of the sovereign people, we demand the formulation of transparent and equitable norms for the processing of mercy petitions."
"PUDR believes that Kasab's hanging is a violation of procedure established by law. The secrecy and speed of Kasab's execution after the rejection of his mercy petition raises serious issues.
The rights body said the Nov 21 hanging in Pune was widely hailed as "one that gave a sense of justice and closure to the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai attack.
"But far from that, Kasab's hanging should set alarm bells ringing for every citizen of this country because it shows that procedural fairness is no longer a vital element of our system of justice.
"The executive can now choose who to kill and turn a blind eye to the rule of law."
PUDR said that by sending a one-line mercy petition in September, the Mumbai jail authorities made the serious omission of not providing legal assistance to Kasab.
"The issue here is not one of Kasab's guilt or the heinousness of his crime.
"Our judicial system promises equality under the law and not providing legal assistance amounts to the failure of the executive and judiciary to practice democratic principles laid down in the constitution.
"More importantly, it must be noted that in a number of cases, courts have intervened after the rejection of mercy petitions and executions have been stayed.
"So, clearly, Kasab's speedy and secret execution was a means to deny him any legal rights...
"His hanging is a symptom of the failure of the rule of law and of blatant procedural unfairness.
"Arbitrariness, as evidenced in Kasab's case, shows that the executive can function free from the requirements of the law and can 'pick and choose' who it wishes to kill."
The statement added: "The hanging of a human being brings to the fore moral questions about whether retribution and revenge are values which we wish to encourage and legitimize.
"Kasab's hanging proves that when we condone, even celebrate, arbitrary actions by the executive and forgo judicial procedure, we surrender a little more of our freedoms and create a police state."