#India – Execution of Prof. Bhullar deferred #deathpenalty


 

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New Delhi, India (June 19, 2013): It is learnt that citing the “bad physical and mental health” of Sikh political prisoner Prof. Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, the office of the Delhi Lt. Governor of Delhi have deferred his execution.

According to a news reported by Indian Express (IE): “[t]his decision, a source said, was taken after scrutiny of the report submitted by the medical board formed by the Delhi government to ascertain Bhullar’s condition. The file has been forwarded to the office of the Director General (Prisons), Tihar Jail, the source said”.

“An objective, compassionate and humane view of the case has been taken after considering the deteriorating physical and mental health of Devinderpal Singh Bhullar and it has been decided to defer the matter. This decision was taken after scrutinising the report submitted by the medical board. Subsequently, he will be examined by a medical board again and the matter will be re-examined, the source said”, the news reported by IE reads further.

In its report, the medical board is learnt to have stated that Bhullar suffers from severe depression with psychotic symptoms. The jail manual states that a death row convict has to be declared physically and mentally fit before execution.

The file stating the L-G’s views has reportedly been recently forwarded to the office of the DG, Tihar, which will now send it to the home ministry before it is finally sent to the Delhi government.

It is notable that there was strong opposition to the execution of death sentence lashed upon Prof. Bhullar by Indian courts. Prof. Bhullar is sentenced to death in a highly contested manner by the Indian courts, and the Supreme Court of India repeatedly upheld his execution in a surprisingly controversial manner, where the the presiding judge of three judges bench acquitted him but two other judges upheld his death sentence on strange reasoning ignoring the absence of evidence against Prof. Bhullar.

Prof. Bhullar and his family are the victims of state-repression, as seven members of his family suffered severe custodial torture; whereas two from the family – Prof. Bhullar’s father and uncle, were secretly killed by Punjab police during enforced disappearance.

Delhi’s Lt. Governor’s decision is expected to brought a sigh of relief for Prof. Bhullar’s family as the decision has halted the execution of Prof. Bhullar for the time being but it must be remembered that the decision does not remove him from the death row permanently.

Professor Bhullar must now be released: Sikh Federation UK


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Published: May 24, 2013

Prof. Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar

London, United Kingdom (May 24, 2013): The Sikh Federation (UK) has urged all those concerned with the death penalty in India and the case of Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar to push for not only the death penalty to be commuted, but for his immediate release given how long he has been in prison and the state of his health.

The statement by the Sikh Federation (UK) follows the ruling by the medical board set up by the Indian Government to look at Professor Bhullar’s health, which it has been reported has come to the conclusion that he suffers from severe depression with psychotic symptoms and suicidal tendencies.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK)

‘What this should mean in any civilised society is that Professor Bhullar cannot now be executed. Someone on death row who is declared not to be physically and mentally fit cannot be executed.’

‘Professor Bhullar’s family and his doctors have repeatedly stated he has almost certainly become severely psychiatric because of the delay in deciding his mercy petition. The Indian state is directly responsible for the state of his health and the Home Minister; Sushilkumar Shinde should do the decent thing by recommending to the Indian President that the death penalty should be commuted. ‘

Shinde has already had many official approaches and stated recently he was considering Professor Bhullar’s case. He now has the verdict of their own three-member board comprised chairperson Dr S K Khandelwal of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), and psychiatrists from Maulana Azad Medical College and G B Pant Hospital.

There have also been many unprecedented statements from former and current senior judges, former leading police officers and others in support of Professor Bhullar that have gone as far as to say as far as they are concerned he is innocent and deserves to receive compensation from the Indian state for his false imprisonment and for the mental and physical suffering or torture he has endured in the last 18 years.

The Sikh Federation (UK) has also welcomed the statement yesterday in the European Parliament in Strasbourg by EU Commissioner Gunther Oettinger on the death penalty in India and the case of Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar. Bhai Amrik Singh said:

‘The EU has also commented on their concerns about Professor Bhullar and that his mental health has come about as he has had to wait for more than a decade for the decision on his mercy plea.’

In the European Parliament yesterday it was stated:

‘The EU has constantly sought to engage with the Indian authorities on the capital punishment and its application in the country, and will continue doing so. To this end, we must make full use of the Human rights dialogue that takes places locally. We look forward to receiving a date from the Indian government to hold the next meeting, postponed several times in the recent past, as rapidly as possible.’

‘Direct contacts with the Indian government, including by way of diplomatic representations and demarches, will continue too. The EU Delegation in Delhi has been proactively asking the Indian government to set up a meeting to be appraised on the developments on capital punishment in India. Once again, our hope is that such a meeting can take place urgently.

 

Devinderpal Singh Bhullar’s wife moves SC for stay on execution of death penalty


Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 13:32 IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The apex court had on March 26, 2002 dismissed Bhullar’s appeal against the death sentence awarded by a trial court in August 2001 and endorsed by the Delhi High Court in 2002.

Devinderpal Singh Bhullar.

1993 Delhi blast convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar‘s wife today approached the Supreme Court seeking stay on execution of his death sentence till her review plea against its verdict is decided.

She submitted in her plea that she has filed a review petition against the Supreme Court verdict of April 12 in which the court had rejected her petition to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment on ground of delay on the part of the government in deciding his mercy plea.

Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) terrorist Bhullar was convicted and awarded death penalty for triggering a bomb blast here in September 1993, killing nine people and injuring 25 others, including then Youth Congress president M S Bitta.

The apex court had on March 26, 2002 dismissed Bhullar’s appeal against the death sentence awarded by a trial court in August 2001 and endorsed by the Delhi High Court in 2002.

He had filed a review petition which was also dismissed on December 17, 2002. Bhullar had then moved a curative petition which too had been rejected by the apex court on March 12, 2003.

Bhullar, meanwhile, had filed a mercy petition before the President on January 14, 2003. The President, after a lapse of over eight years, dismissed his mercy plea on May 25, 2011.

Citing his delay, he had again moved the apex court for commutation of the death sentence but his plea was rejected.

The apex court had on May one commuted the death sentence awarded to murder convict M N Das, whose mercy petition was rejected by then President Pratibha Patil.

The court had allowed the plea of Das who had approached it for commutation of his death sentence on the ground that the President had taken twelve years to decide his mercy plea

 

#India – Suprme Court rejects Devinderpal Singh Bhullar’s appeal #deathpenalty


Supreme Court verdict could impact other death row prisoners

death-penalty
Reported by A Vaidyanathan, Ketki Angre, Edited by Surabhi Malik | Updated: April 12, 2013

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court has ruled that a death sentence cannot be commuted to life imprisonment because of a delay in execution.

The court has rejected an appeal by Devinderpal Singh Bhullar against his hanging, and could impact the cases of 16 other prisoners on death row who have pleaded against their punishment.

Bhullar had appealed against his execution on the grounds that his petition for mercy was kept pending by the President of the country for eight years. He was given the death sentence for killing nine people with a car bomb in Delhi in 1993.

Bhullar’s wife was in court when the verdict against him was announced. “The court didn’t consider our points,” she said.  Bhullar’s family and friends say that his time in prison has affected his mental health.

Activists and lawyers for Bhullar and other prisoners have said that inordinate delays in deciding requests for clemency amount to cruelty and violate the fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.

In Tamil Nadu, today’s verdict will be  carefully assessed to determine the potential fallout on the case of  three men who have spent 22 years in a jail in Tamil Nadu for their role in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Their appeal for clemency was rejected after 11 years in August 2011.  All parties in the state have passed a resolution stating that they should not hang.

Human rights groups have been critical of India for executing two prisoners in the last few months. Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab was hanged in November 2012 in Pune for his role in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. In February, Afzal Guru was hanged in Delhi; he had been convicted of assisting in the attack on Parliament in 2001. His family was informed of his execution two days after he was buried at Tihar Jail.

 

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