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Rights Group: India Should Work to Abolish Death Penalty

A prominent human rights group is urging India to reinstate its informal moratorium on executions as a step toward abolishing the death penalty.

Human Rights Watch issued the appeal Saturday after India hanged a Kashmiri man convicted for his role in the 2001 attack on India's parliament.

An official with the U.S.-based group, Meenakshi Ganguly, said people who engage in serious crimes should be punished. But he also said the death penalty is "brutal and irreversible," and that there is no "convincing" evidence to suggest it is a deterrent.

Afzal Guru was executed early Saturday in Tihar prison in New Delhi. He had been on death row since 2002.

He was found guilty of planning the parliament attack and of being a member of the Pakistan-based Islamic militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Protests broke out in Guru's hometown, Sopore, after his execution, even though authorities had dispatched thousands of security forces across the Kashmir Valley to clamp down on possible demonstrations and to enforce a curfew.



Indian President Pranab Mukherjee recently rejected a mercy petition for Guru.

Several rights groups have said Guru did not receive a fair trial.

In December 2001, five armed rebels stormed India's parliament and opened fire, killing nine people. All five men who carried out the attack were killed.

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