‘Are not terrorists’, say Delhi rape convicts seeking stay on death warrant
The two convicts in the 2012 gang rape case, who have approached a Delhi court for stay on their execution on February 1, want the matter to be adjourned sine die.
“These convicts are not terrorists,” said their lawyer AP Singh. He is representing Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta.
The lawyer cited Rule 836 of the Prison manual which says that in a case where more than one person has been handed over the death penalty, the execution cannot take place unless all the convicts have exhausted their legal options.
“Pawan Kumar Gupta has filed a review petition in the Supreme Court on the rejection of his juvenility claim,” Singh said. “Akshay’s curative has been rejected and I would file the mercy plea after I have got the order from the Supreme Court,” he further said.
Lawyer Vrinda Grover, who is representing Mukesh Singh, also joined AP Singh and saying that there is a common sentence in which the accused have been convicted. “The execution order is a common order. My client cannot be hanged and the execution of one cannot be separated from other. Hence, the execution should be stayed,” she said. Mukesh is out of legal options after his plea against the presidential order was rejected by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The arguments were made in response to prosecution’s argument against staying the February 1 execution who said that the application is not maintainable.
Public prosecutor Irfan Ahmad said, “The execution date of February 1 still holds good for all convicts barring Vinay Sharma since his mercy petition is pending before the President. So, all the other convicts except Vinay can be hanged and no law prevents their hanging.” The court will pronounce its order at 2.30 pm.
Thakur and Sharma had filed the petition on Thursday seeking a stay on their execution scheduled for February 1 (Saturday). The court had issued a notice to the Tihar jail authorities seeking its response on the petition and asked the prison officials to submit a status report.
The trial court had on January 17 issued black warrants for the second time for the execution of all the four convicts in the case in Tihar jail at 6 am on February 1.
The four convicts - Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) - were sentenced to death by a fast-track court in just about a year of the gruesome crime that had brought thousands of people on the streets to protest. It led to a major overhaul of laws surrounding sexual assault.
Their victim, a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, was gang-raped and savagely assaulted on the night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in South Delhi. She died of her injuries a fortnight later in a Singapore hospital.