Just 48 hours before they were to gounder the executioner's blade in Kuwait last week, two Indians got a reprieve, after paying blood money to relatives of their alleged murder victim and thanks to the efforts of the Indian Embassy there which took up the matter strongly.
The duo - Suresh
Shanmugasundaram and Kalidas Chellaiyan -residents of Chennai, had been arrested along with a Sri Lankan woman in 2008 for the murder of another Lankan woman.
The Indian Embassy initially provided legal assistance by engaging a local lawyer to defend them in the Court.
However, despite their "best efforts", both Shanmugasundaram and Chellaiyan were convicted by the Court of First Instance on March 3, 2009, official sources said. The court awarded death sentence to them.
Subsequently, they appealed against this verdict in the Court of Appeal which was also turned down on April 24, 2009.
Sources said that in spite of the relatives of both Indians reaching an agreement to pay blood money, it was reliably learnt on April 14 that they were to be executed on the 18th.
"It was at this stage the Indian Mission in Kuwait redoubled its efforts and sought the intervention of the minister of justice, the minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and the minister of Amiri Diwan.
"These strenuous efforts seem to have resulted in suspension of the execution sentence on June 16, just 48 hours prior to the execution," sources said.
The Indian mission is now talking to the local authorities for the commuting of their sentence to a lower degree. Both the Indian nationals are currently lodged at the central prison in Kuwait.