Yakub Memon hanged

Yakub Memon: India carries out execution over 1993 bomb attacks 

Appeals for clemency rejected, with hanging of former accountant representing the third time capital punishment has been used since 2012

India has carried out its third execution in under three years, hanging a former accountant convicted of involvement in a series of co-ordinated terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of people in Mumbai in 1993.

Yakub Memon died at 7am on Thursday at Nagpur jail in the western state of Maharashtra, according to local media reports.

The supreme court of India had in the small hours of the morning rejected a last-minute request for a two-week postponement of the execution to allow the condemned man to “make his peace with God and settle his earthly affairs before leaving this world”.

There had been some opposition to the hanging. About 300 prominent citizens, including several retired senior judges, had urged India’s president to commute Memon’s sentence to life in prison.

Though Indian courts frequently hand down capital sentences, few are carried out and a de facto moratorium existed from 2004 until 2012.

The three executions since have been for terrorism offences.

Tensions are high in India after seven people, including three policemen, were killed in an attack by militants on a police station in the north-west of the emerging economic power earlier this week. Indian officials have blamed Islamic militants sent from Pakistan for the assault.

Security has been tightened in Mumbai in what officials call “sensitive areas” in the wake of the execution.

A spokesperson for the ruling Bharatiya Janata party said earlier about the execution that it was “imperative that this conspirator is hung to death … so it sends a message to the terrorists [the] world over that India is not soft on terror”.

Memon was found to have provided logistical and financial help to those behind the bloody bombings of the stock exchange, the offices of Air India, a luxury hotel and other targets in Mumbai, India’s commercial capital, in March 1993.

The blasts, which killed 257 people, are widely thought to have been the work of Muslim ganglords in Mumbai’s underworld. They followed anti-Muslim riots across India that had killed more than 1,000 people.

Memon was the only one of 11 convicted people linked to the attacks to have his death sentence upheld on appeal. He was found to have helped the bombers by providing cash and plane tickets. The sentences on the others were commuted to life imprisonment.

Amnesty International India said the execution “marks another disheartening use of the death penalty in India”.

“This morning the Indian government essentially killed a man in cold blood to show that killing is wrong,” said Aakar Patel, executive director of Amnesty International India.

Memon, who would have turned 53 on the day he was hanged, had denied any involvement in the blasts during a lengthy trial and appeal process, arguing that he had voluntarily surrendered to authorities and co-operated with investigators. His brother, Ibrahim, was alleged to have masterminded the attacks, along with Dawood Ibrahim, an infamous gang boss from Mumbai who is India’s most wanted fugitive.

In India the death sentence is reserved for cases that are deemed “the rarest of the rare”. The 350 convicted prisoners who currently face hanging include four men found guilty of the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in Delhi in 2012.

Amnesty International has described the application of the death penalty in India as “arbitrary, discriminatory and often used disproportionately against the poor”.

The group pointed to recent research showing that more than three-quarters of prisoners on death row were from economically weak backgrounds.

The study, by the National Law University in New Delhi and a government-appointed legal commission, also found that three-quarters of prisoners on death row could not afford to hire lawyers and so often went without legal representation.

“The death penalty is inherently cruel … The right decision was taken by the state not to execute people for a number of years and that should have been formalised,” said Meenakshi Ganguly of Human Rights Watch.

Ganguly said a better deterrent against crime or acts of terror would be “reforms to the criminal justice system, proper investigation and timely prosecution that ensures that criminals are convicted and punished”.

“At the moment people are even fearful to report crime to the police, evidence vanishes, there is torture, the entire process needs an urgent overhaul,” she said.

India has a shortage of qualified and experienced hangmen with states forced to issue public appeals for volunteers with the requisite skills. Local media said a police constable who had executed Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani national guilty of the 2008 attacks in Mumbai three years ago, had been chosen as the hangman for Memon.


Yakub Memon’s post-mortem complete, body will be flown to Mumbai for burial

Yakub Memon's lawyers told the three-judge Bench that Memon must get 14 days to challenge rejection of mercy plea by President

With the Supreme Court rejecting a final plea on Thursday morning, 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon was hanged in Nagpur central jail. Yakub’s body will be handed to his family after jail authorities complete the postmortem procedure. His body will be brought to Mumbai for burial by his family amidst tight security in a flight leaving from Nagpur at around 10.45 am. Mumbai Police refrains Yakub’s family from taking out a funeral procession; section 144 imposed in Mumbai and Nagpur. Amnesty International India said that the execution of Yakub Memon marks another disheartening use of the death penalty in India. Yakub was convicted under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (TADA) Act, a law that contained provisions incompatible with international fair trial standards, Amnesty International India said. “This morning, the Indian government essentially killed a man in cold blood to show that killing is wrong,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director, Amnesty International India. “This execution will not deliver justice for the 1993 Mumbai blasts. It is a misguided attempt to prevent terrorism, and a disappointing use of the criminal justice system as a tool for retribution.” 
Earlier, a three judge Bench of the court, which heard the matter for an hour starting 3.30 am, said it would be a “travesty of justice” to stay the death warrant. The Bench said ample opportunities were given to Yakub Memon to avail all remedies before court and executive. The case was heard inside the Supreme Court in what was an unprecedented day for the Indian judiciary. 

Reports from Nagpur, where the execution took place Thursday morning, said his wife and daughter are not in the city, but cousin Usman and brother Suleman are. At the central jail, preparations went on unhindered despite the developments in the apex court. According to sources, two magistrates and a doctor are inside the jail. An ambulance was also seen going in around 5.30 am. Police are keeping morning walkers away from the jail.

When arguments began around 3.30 am, they told the three-judge Bench that Memon must get 14 days to challenge rejection of mercy plea by President. This is the same Bench that earlier rejected Memon’s plea. His lawyers argued that the mercy plea junked by the President in 2014 was filed by Yakub’s brother and he had substantive right to file a fresh plea separately. His counsel argued that no distinction can be drawn between rights of a death row convict in a terror case and those convicted for other crimes. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi argued that repeated filing of mercy petitions is nothing but abuse of the process. Attorney General says Yakub and family have been informed about rejection of mercy plea by President this evening. Attorney General tells SC idea is to delay the execution by 4-5 years on death row and then seek commutation alleging inordinate delay. 

According to news agency ANI, Justice Dipak Mishra said in the court that “similar prayers were made in the petition disposed off yesterday. Execution warrant was communicated to Yakub Memon on July 13, ’15. On 11.4.2014 mercy petition by the brother of Yakub Memon was rejected. Petitioner Yakub Memon never disowned the mercy petition filed by his brother.” 

Earlier, the Supreme Court rejected the petition against his death warrant saying there was no procedural lapse in the order on the curative petition. Memon’s plea was earlier referred to the larger bench after Justice AR Dave and Justice Kurian Joseph differed on various aspects of the case. 

Yakub Memon hanged Yakub Memon hanged Reviewed by Ajit Kumar on 10:38 AM Rating: 5

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