#Human Rights
President Pratibha Patil President of India

Murugan and Santhan, both 41, and Arivu alias Perarivalan, 37, were sentenced to death in January 1998 by a Special Anti-Terrorist Court in India on the grounds of their involvement in the assassination of the late Rajiv Gandhi.

Their sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court of India in May 1999. Their mercy petitions were rejected by the Indian President this month on the advice of the Government of India.

If carried out, these would be the first executions in India since 2004. The three men were amongst 26 people sentenced to death by a special court at the Poonamallee jail complex in Tamil Nadu.

On appeal, a three-judge Supreme Court bench confirmed the death sentences of Murugan, Santhan, Perarivalan and a woman, Nalini, while acquitting 19 persons of the murder charges and commuting the death sentences of three others.

In April 2000, the Governor of Tamil Nadu commuted Nalini’s sentence to life imprisonment, but rejected the mercy petitions of the three men. A mercy petition for the three men was sent to the Government of India in April 2000 and eventually only decided upon at the beginning of August 2011.

Amnesty International in their statement says the eleven-year delay in announcing the verdict of the mercy petition and the resultant stay on death row may further amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment..

President Pratibha Patil,
President of India,
22 August 2011.

Death Sentence of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan be commuted

We undersigned argue;

1. That the death sentence of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan be commuted;

2. Acknowledge the seriousness of the crime, i.e. assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, but we raise concern that their stay on death row, since the mercy petition was kept pending for eleven years, may further amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment;

3. Reiterate the call of the UN General Assembly to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty, and pointing out that India’s decision to resume executions after a seven-year gap goes against regional and global trends towards abolition of the death penalty.

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The India: Commuted Death Sentence of Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan petition to President Pratibha Patil President of India was written by Action For Peace And Human Rights and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.