News / Asia

    India Court Commutes Gandhi Killers' Death Sentences to Life

    A television journalist sets his camera inside the premises of the Supreme Court in New Delhi, Feb. 18, 2014.
    A television journalist sets his camera inside the premises of the Supreme Court in New Delhi, Feb. 18, 2014.
    Reuters
    India's Supreme Court commuted death sentences on three men for involvement in the killing of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi to life imprisonment on Tuesday because of an 11-year delay in deciding on their petitions for mercy.
     
    Gandhi was killed by an ethnic Tamil suicide bomber while campaigning in an election in the southern Indian town of Sriperumbudur in May 1991.
     
    The three Indian men - tried as Santhan, Murugan, Perarivalan - were members of a Sri Lankan ethnic Tamil separatist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and Gandhi's killing was seen as an act of retaliation after he sent Indian peacekeepers to Sri Lanka in 1987.
     
    The three were convicted of involvement in 1998 and sentenced to death by hanging. A fourth person, a woman, was also given the death sentence but it was later commuted to a life term.
     
    The men appealed for mercy but successive Indian presidents gave no decision until 2011, when their plea was rejected.
     
    “Delay in deciding mercy pleas is one of the grounds to commute the death sentence to life imprisonment,” the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, said.
     
    Gandhi's widow, Sonia, is head of the Congress party while their son, Rahul, leads its campaign for elections in the next few months.
     
    FILE - In this photograph taken on May 20, 1991 National Congress leader Rajiv Gandhi casts his ballot at a polling station in New Delhi for the first round of the general election.FILE - In this photograph taken on May 20, 1991 National Congress leader Rajiv Gandhi casts his ballot at a polling station in New Delhi for the first round of the general election.
    x
    FILE - In this photograph taken on May 20, 1991 National Congress leader Rajiv Gandhi casts his ballot at a polling station in New Delhi for the first round of the general election.
    FILE - In this photograph taken on May 20, 1991 National Congress leader Rajiv Gandhi casts his ballot at a polling station in New Delhi for the first round of the general election.
    Rajiv Gandhi's mother, Indira, was assassinated in 1984 over the army's storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar to crush a Sikh militant movement.
     
    The death penalty remains in force in India despite a long campaign by human rights groups to abolish it. It has rarely been carried out, however.
     
    About 500 people are on death row, many of them for years.
     
    In November 2012, India ended what many rights groups had interpreted as an undeclared moratorium on capital punishment when it executed a gunman convicted for the 2008 militant attack on Mumbai. Three months later, it hanged a man from Kashmir for a 2001 militant attack on parliament.
     
    The Supreme Court said on Tuesday the administration must move faster on deciding on mercy petitions in the interest of justice.
     
    Last month, the Supreme Court commuted the sentences of 15 death row prisoners to life in jail on the grounds of delay.
     
    Human rights group Amnesty International said the commuting of the death sentences was encouraging, especially following the January decision.
     
    “India must now do away with the death penalty - a cruel, inconsistent and irreversible form of punishment that has no proven deterrent effect on crime,” Divya Iyer, senior researcher with Amnesty International India, said in a statement.

    You May Like

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora