Human rights group demands abolition of death sentence

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 22, 2012 16:50 hrs

New Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS) A day after 26/11 attack terrorist Ajmal Kasab was hanged, human rights group People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) Thursday demanded abolition of the death penalty.

"The PUCL calls upon all Indians to use the present situation as a moment of national reflection, a period of serious dialogue and discussion on the values and ethics which we as a nation of Buddha and Ashoka, who epitomised humane governance, dharma and ahimsa, should accept and follow," PUCL said in a statement.

"We also hold that abolishing death penalty is not a sign of weakness. Rather it is a stand which arises from a sense of moral authority," the statement said.

It also pointed out that just two days before Kasab was hanged, the Supreme Court pointed out that the application of the "rarest of rare cases" doctrine to award death penalty was seriously arbitrary, warranting a reconsideration of the death penalty in India.

"We in the PUCL nevertheless feel that this is a moment in our nation's history when we need to pause and ponder, and reflect on the values that we, as a nation, should uphold, particularly relating to crime and punishment, justice and equity," it said.

PUCL was formed in India in 1976 by socialist leader Jayaprakash Narayan.

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