Guroo’s Execution, Unjust, Inhuman: HRF

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SRINAGAR: The Human Rights Forum (HRF) strongly condemns the execution of Afzal Guru calling the execution, injustice and inhuman which was done in a tearing hurry. “It is a dark day for our democracy. HRF is in principle opposed to capital punishment in all cases without exception. This is regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual.

The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights and has no deterrent effect. We believe it is brutal, uncivilised, arbitrary and discriminatory. It is nothing but the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the State and it violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

It is well to remember that all the five attackers of Parliament were killed in the gunfight that very day and Afzal Guru’s alleged involvement in the planning of the attack on Parliament is the only reason why he was sentenced to die. This is no way meets the “rarest of rare” criteria for which the death sentence is allowed for in Indian law. It is therefore unfortunate that the Supreme Court also succumbed to the common emotion of retributive justice when it noted that sentencing him to death would satisfy “the collective conscience of the society”. This, when the evidence against Guru was thin and circumstantial. In a statement, the HRF sid that unfortunately, Afzal’s case was enmeshed in a politics of hate from the very moment of his arrest. The trail itself was flawed. It was based on faulty investigation, circumstantial evidence and the arbitrary role of the police was deeply suspect from the very beginning.

Moreover, Afzal Guru did not have adequate legal representation in the course of his trial. According to Amnesty International, the trail did not conform to India’s obligation under international human rights law. The secrecy surrounding Afzal’s execution, like in the Kasab case, is very disturbing and raises serious questions about procedural fairness. HRF demands that the government establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.

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