Rajiv assasination case convicts seek SSP help

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Chennai, May 20: Three convicts serving life sentence in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, have requested the Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) for Human Rights here to help them secure their early release from the prison. The Convicts-S-Jayakumar, Robert Payas (both Sri Lankans) and P Ravichandran -- made a plea for early release through a letter addressed to SPP V Kannadasan recently. Calling themselves as 'Political Prisoners,' the convicts in the letter to SSP said their earlier pleas for premature release had been rejected owing to extraneous jail manual provisions rules.

The prisoners said the Tamil Nadu government order dated July 18, 2007 denying early release did not specify the jurisdiction of the Central Government, and it had been passed without consulting the Centre, Mr Kannadasan, talking to the sources said. Appreciating the ''constructive efforts'' of SSP in highlighting the human rights violations of inmates incarcerated in prison, they said Mr Kannadasan should strive to take up their matter to draw the attention of the state and central government authorities through State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Stating that they had been in jail for the past 17 years and their conduct was good, the convicts, pointing out the jail authorities concepts of 'reformation, rehabilitation and re-socilaisation of prisoners,' requested the SPP to help them for early release.

Mr Kannadasan said he would forward the letter to the NHRC and SHRC. The three, along with four others-- Nalini, Murugan alias Motta Thallai Murugan alias Sriharan, Santhan and A G Perarivalan -- were found guilty in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and sentenced to death by a designated court on Jaunuary 28, 1998.

However, following a mercy petition by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, wife of late Rajiv Gandhi, capital punishment of Nalini had been reduced to a life term.

UNI

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