Amnesty urges India to halt first execution since 2004
Amnesty International today urged India to halt its first scheduled execution for eight years and to impose an official moratorium on any further use of capital punishment.chandigarh Updated: Mar 27, 2012 11:29 IST
Amnesty International on Tuesday urged India to halt its first scheduled execution for eight years and to impose an official moratorium on any further use of capital punishment.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the human rights watchdog said the execution of Balwant Singh Rajoana, who was slated to be hanged on March 31 in Punjab, would be a major step backwards.
Rajoana was sentenced to death in 2007 for his role in the 1995 assassination of the then Punjab chief minister Beant Singh.
"Resuming executions after an eight year hiatus would place India in opposition to regional and global trends towards abolition of the death penalty," said Amnesty s Asia-Pacific director Sam Zarifi.
"We urge you to stop the execution of Balwant Singh and establish an official moratorium on executions ... and swiftly abolish the death penalty in India for all crimes," Zarifi wrote in his letter to the Prime Minister.
If Sunday's hanging goes ahead in Punjab's Patiala Jail, it would be the first execution in India since 2004 when a former security guard was hanged for the rape and murder of a 14-year-old schoolgirl.