UP governor rejects mercy pleas of couple sentenced to death
Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik has rejected the mercy petition of Shabnam and her lover Saleem, who were sentenced to death for killing seven people, including a 10-month-old child, in 2008.
BR Verma, senior superintendent of Moradabad Jail, where Shabnam is being held, confirmed the governor had rejected her mercy petition. Shabnam's mercy petition filed with the President is still pending, he said.
The papers regarding the rejection of the mercy plea had reached Moradabad Jail and Shabnam had been informed about the governor's decision, he said.
Shabnam had said in her petition that she should be granted mercy to take care of her six-year-old son Taj Mohammad, Verma said.
A district and sessions court in Amroha had in 2010 awarded the death penalty to the duo for killing seven members of Shabnam’s family on April 15, 2008.
On May 15, the Supreme Court confirmed the death sentences. But within 10 days, the apex court quashed death warrants issued by the sessions court in Amroha for executing the couple, saying they were “signed in haste” without following guidelines.
According to the law, the couple should have been given 30 days to file review petitions against the death sentence. They could also file curative petitions and mercy pleas. However, the sessions court issued the death warrants less than a week after the Supreme Court confirmed the death penalty.
The duo had killed Shabnam’s father Shaukat Ali, 55, mother Hashmi, 50, elder brother Anees, 35, his wife Anjum, 25, younger brother Rashid, 22, and cousin Rabia, 14. Shabnam had throttled Anees’ 10-month-old child Arsh.
Shabnam drugged members of her family while Saleem hacked them to death with an axe in Bawankhedi village of Hasanpur Kotwali. The couple confessed they eliminated Shabnam’s family for opposing their relationship.
Judge SAA Hussaini convicted Shabnam and Saleem and gave them the death sentence after hearing arguments by the prosecution and defence over a period of 27 months. The judge described the crime as “rarest of the rare” and rejected defence lawyer Arshad Hussain’s appeal to convert the capital punishment into life imprisonment.
Woman, lover held for hacking 7 to death