GHRC activists call for mercy to Sarabjit Singh

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Chandigarh, May 5: A group of human rights activists today appealed to Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf to grant mercy to Sarabjit Singh, the condemned Indian prisoner who is imprisoned in Kot Lakhpat jail near Lahore.

"Sarabjit's execution in capital punishment may be reduced to any other alternative punishment like life imprisonment", a mercy petition sent to Gen Musharraf on behalf of Global Human Rights Council stated. The petition recalled the words of Pakistan's founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah in 1938 at Lahore on the death sentence to Shaheed Bhagat Singh---- ' God alone can take life, because he along gives it. The death sentence is abominable as the crime itself'. The petition was signed by Mr Arvind Thakur, Chairperson of Global Human Rights Council besides by activists of All India Human Rights Watch, Federation of Lawyers Against Corruption and Human Rights Protection Forum. Mr Thakur released the mercy petition at a press conference here today in the presence of Mrs Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarabjit and Poonam, his daughter.

The petition pointed out that the second optional protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the Abolition of Death Penalty adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1996 provides that no one within the jurisdiction of a state party to the present protocol shall be executed and each state party shall take all necessary measures to abolish the death penalty within its jurisdiction.

The petition further stated that the case of Sarabjit Singh was not a clear case of commission of offence by the prisoner, therefore, according to penal code of Pakistan in view of the new evidences the case for capital punishment may be re-considered. The Supreme Court of Pakistan itself specifically states in Zulfikar's case that death sentence can be given when the murder is committed in an extremely brutal, grotesque, diabolical, revolting or dastardly manner.

" However in Sarabjit's case when there is no direct evidence and evidence already on record is suspicious then, the capital punishment awarded by the courts of Pakistan needs to be reviewed', the petition stated. The people of India will be thankful, if relief is granted to Sarabjit, in the interest of humanity and justice, the petition stated. Later Mr Thakur released a list of 41 Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails and demanded that they be released immediately and sent back home. The list was compiled by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in April this year.


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