A Release by Amnesty International
The imminent execution of Yakub Memon marks a disappointing step backwards towards the continued use of the death penalty in India, said Amnesty International India.
Earlier today, the Supreme Court rejected Yakub Memon’s petition against the warrant for his execution. Yakub Memon’s lawyers had argued that the warrant was illegal because it was issued before he had exhausted every legal option.
The governor of Maharashtra has rejected a mercy petition filed before him. Another mercy petition filed before the President has also been rejected.
Those who claim that hanging Yakub Memon will bring justice for the 1993 Mumbai blasts are mistaken. According to media reports, he spent time in solitary confinement, which is unconstitutional. The suspected masterminds of the blasts have still not been located, arrested and brought to book.
The death penalty in India is arbitrary, discriminatory and is often used disproportionately against the poor. A recent study conducted by students from the National Law University, Delhi, with the help of India’s Law Commission, found that over three-fourths of prisoners on death row were from economically weak backgrounds.
140 countries around the world have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. Unfortunately, governments continue to use the death penalty in a misguided, often cynical, attempt to tackle crime and terrorism. Amnesty International’s latest annual report on the death penalty worldwide found that an alarming number of countries used the death penalty to tackle real or perceived threats to state security posed by terrorism, crime or internal instability in 2014.