[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Dec 14 19:32:12 CST 2008
Abolish Death Penalty
As a staunch opponent of death penalty, Jagmohan Singh exhorts Sikhs to
step up activism for abolition of death penalty in India, South Asia and
The Sikh nation is committed to right to life for all. The Sikh people
have demonstrated their commitment to abolishment of death penalty for all
crimes at all times. It has been proved beyond doubt that the killing of
one human being by another person or state is wrong and that capital
punishment is not a deterrent to crime and serves only the purpose of
The Sikh ethical approach of compassion, forgiveness and scope for
reformation of one's life is a prerequisite for a progressive civil
society. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Sikh ruler, in his 40 year reign
(1799-1839) did not use the death penalty, even in cases, where he was the
subject of attack.
According to information gathered by World Sikh News, close to 50 people
are on the death row in India and many more in the neighbouring South
Asian countries. According to reports, there are 11 in Punjab.
In the recent past, Bhai Satwant Singh, Bhai Kehar Singh, Bhai Sukhdev
Singh and Bhai Harjinder Singh have been executed. Pursuing the struggle
for Sikh rights, three political activists -Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar,
Jagtar Singh Hawara and Balwant Singh are on the death row. Devinder Pal
Singh Bhullars case is decided at the highest level, whereas the case of
Jagtar Singh and Balwant Singh has still to go to the Supreme Court. Three
of their associates, Shamsher Singh, Lakhwinder Singh and Gurmeet Singh
have been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Sarabjit Singh is one of the many on the death row in Pakistan. Nalini
awaits the order of the Supreme Court of India for commutation of death
sentence to her. Other of her co-accused in the Rajiv Gandhi case continue
to be on the death row.
Commute Death Sentence of Prof. Bhullar
As Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, like many others in India continues to be
on the death row, not knowing what his fate would be, Sikh organizations
and concerned Sikhs are continually seized with the prospects of what the
On 2 November, on the occasion of the Sikh Day parade, a resolution was
passed by voice vote by a hundred thousand Sikhs, to approach the
President of India for commutation of the death sentence. Many Yuba City
Gurdwara leaders and others have signed the petition too.
Here is the text of the letter.
Honorable Excellency Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil:
On the behalf of the congregation of 100,000 Sikhs gather to celebrate
300th Guru Granth Sahib Guru Gaddi Divas and 29th Annual Sikh Parade
(Nagar Kirtan) at Sikh Gurudwara Tierra Buena in Yuba City, California,
USA on November 02, 2008, unanimously adopt this resolution in the case of
Prof. Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar.
Whereas Prof. Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar was sentenced to death on August
29, 2001 while not respecting the extradition agreement when Prof. Bhullar
was extradited to India from Germany in January 1995.
Whereas Prof. Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar has been falsely convicted under
unconstitutional, draconian and now repealed Terrorist and Disruptive
Activities(TADA) Act. He was not given fair trail since TADA has no
provision for appeals.
Whereas Prof. Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar was found guilty solely on the
strength of an unsubstantiated confession forcibly made in police custody
a confession that was retracted and inadmissible in the court of law. A
second defendant in the case was acquitted because the only evidence
against him was Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar's confession.
Whereas Prof. Devinder Pal Singh appealed against the death sentence in
December 2001, but the appeal was rejected while the senior most of the
three judges found the accused not guilty and directed that he should be
released. In general, in the case of split decision, death penalty is not
Therefore, we, the Sikhs of this congregation on this special day, hereby
strongly urge Your Excellency to direct the justice System to
unconditionally repeal lower court death sentence, acquit him of the false
charges, and order unconditional and immediate release of Prof. Devinder
Pal Singh Bhullar.
Executed at Gurudwara Tierra Buena of Yuba City, State Of California, USA
on the second day of November, 2008.
Significantly, India has not sent anyone to the gallows for the last many
years and as many as 20 plus petitions are pending before the President of
India for commutation. Though there is no legal or political knowledge at
my disposal, I tend to surmise that the government of India is
contemplating abolition of death penalty. At least that was the impression
given by the former home minister Shivraj Patil, when he talked about the
quid pro quo requirement in the case of Indian citizen Sarabjit Singh
sentenced to die in Pakistan. Nevertheless, India must ignore and abandon
all rhetoric to send Afzal Guru and others to the gallows every time there
is a chorus for doing so at the time of mass violence incidents.
The government of India should be asked to abolish the death penalty from
the statute by amending Section 53 of the Indian Penal Code. India should
ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights and support initiatives in this direction by the
Article 19 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,
under the chapter of Protection in the Event of Removal, Expulsion or
Extradition, clearly states, "No one may be removed, expelled or
extradited to a State where there is a serious risk that he or she would
be subjected to the death penalty, torture or other inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment." At the global level, India is in a precarious
condition while ensuring implementation of this clause. On the one hand,
while seeking to extradite someone, it gives assurance to courts and
respective governments based on the above charter. Otherwise it is not
possible to obtain the accused. If however, it chooses to honour its
commitment, it would amount to discrimination with others on the death row
and a violation of the fundamental principle of equality before the law.
The only way out, therefore, is to annul death penalty.
As many as 133 countries have completely abolished capital punishment in
law or practice. It is time for India to join the ranks of these
countries. Sikhs worldwide need to participate in all civil society action
dedicated to this end. We should all endeavour to build a death-penalty
(source: Jagmohan Singh is a commentator based in Ludhiana.--World Sikh
Public executions are still common
PUBLIC executions were the hallmark of the French Revolution when, in
search of the rights of many, more than a few lost their lives.
It is recorded that 16,594 people were dispatched by tumbrel to face their
futures beneath the guillotines, but it may have been as many as 40,000.
These days such public displays of murderous brutality are conducted by
cruel regimes such as those to be found in Iran and Somalia.
The quality of justice is as arbitrary as it was in late 18th-century
In the southern coastal town of Kismayo last month, it was recorded that
Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was stoned to death in a sports stadium packed with
1000 excited onlookers.
Aisha was 13 and had reported to authorities that she had been raped by 3
Islamic militants instead accused the girl of adultery and sentenced her
Somalia, like Iran, is in the grip of savages.
2 years ago an Islamic court ordered that Omar Hussein, 45, be executed.
Their inventive twist was that he be tied to a post and stabbed to death
by the son of the man he was alleged to have murdered.
So 14-year-old Mohamed Moallim slashed at the blindfolded Omar's throat
and neck - it didn't help that Mohamed was also blindfolded - entertaining
the hundreds who turned out to see justice, sharia style.
Iran infamously hanged Mahmoud Asgari, 16, and Ayaz Marhoni, 18, after
accusing them of being homosexual.
Large crowds gathered to witness the boys' punishment.
The civilising forces in Islam are losing the battle, right?
I mean, how many Victorians would take seats in the MCG for a similar
Hopefully, we'll never know. Just as well. The answer might unsettle us.
(source: Alan Howe; News.com)
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