Kasab hanging ‘a step backwards’, says Amnesty

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NEW DELHI – India has taken “a significant step backwards” by hanging Pakistani Ajmal Kasab for his involvement in the Mumbai terror attack, Amnesty International said Wednesday.

“Today’s execution means India has taken a significant step backwards and joined that minority of countries that are still executing,” said Shashikumar Velath of Amnesty India.

Kasab’s lawyer and family in Pakistan were not informed of the imminent execution, in violation of international standards on the use of the death penalty, Amnesty said.

“We recognize the gravity of the crimes for which Kasab was convicted, and sympathise with the victims of these acts and their families, but the death penalty is the ultimate cruel and inhuman form of punishment,” said Velath.

“We are also deeply disconcerted both by the unusual speed with which his mercy petition was rejected as well as the secrecy that surrounded his execution.”

Kasab, one of 10 Pakistanis who stormed Mumbai in November 2008 and killed 166 people, was hanged at Yerawada prison in Pune Wednesday morning.

The resumption of executions in India comes two days after the UN General Assembly’s human rights committee adopted a draft resolution calling for a global moratorium on the death penalty.

Amnesty International said it opposes the death penalty as it violates the right to life as proclaimed in the UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights.

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