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AHRC against hanging of Veerappan aides

Guwahati: Asian Centre for Human Rights (AHRC) on Monday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to abolish capital punishment and stop execution of four associates of sandalwood smuggler Veerappan who are on death row in 2004 landmine blast at Palar in Karnataka in which 22 policemen were killed.

"If the government continues with the current spree of execution of those whose mercy pleas are rejected or those who could not file mercy pleas, India will become one of the top five executioners of the world along with China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq," Delhi-based AHRC Director Suhas Chakma said in a release here.

Death penalty as a deterrent against crime has been found to be invalid and at present about 140 out of 193 Members States of the United Nations have abolished the death penalty in law and practice, he said.

Even in countries were death penalty is practiced, governments are either abolishing it or reducing the number of offences for which death penalty could be imposed, he said,

By 2011, Illinois became the 16th State of the United States to abolish death penalty, while China removed the death penalty in 13 crimes, while adding at least two new capital crimes, during the same year, but India is regrettably moving backwards, Chakma added.

At least 5,776 cases of death row convicts were considered during 2001 to 2011 with the death sentence of 4,321 convicts commuted to life sentences while 1,455 sentences were confirmed by courts, he added.

(Agencies)

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