ADPAN calls on India to intervene and stop the executions of four Indian death row prisoners. Gnanprakasham, Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran are at risk of imminent execution following a rejection of their mercy petitions by President Pranab Mukherjee.
Reports of the President’s decision have come shortly after the hanging of Afzal Guru, the second execution in India in under three months.
The defendants were initially sentenced to life imprisonment by a special court in Karnataka set up under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act (TADA), in connection with the killing of 21 policemen in a landmine blast in 1993. Trials under the TADA, which lapsed in 1995 following wide-spread criticism from national and international human rights organizations, do not uphold basic international human rights standards. The Act had been misused to arbitrarily arrest, detain and torture thousands of people. On appeal their sentences were increased to the death penalty by the Supreme Court in 2004. They filed mercy petitions in 2004.
ADPAN regrets the resumption of executions, is concerned about the political climate in which these two latest executions have taken place and the secrecy surrounding these executions.
ADPAN urges the authorities to suspend all further executions in India.