17 May, 2021

The Question Hangs

It is essential that India demonstrates Kasab’s execution was an aberration, not the standard.

The Question Hangs

Ajmal Kasab’s execution marks an end to India’s widely hailed unofficial moratorium on capital punishment since 2004, when prime minister Manmohan Singh’s government took charge. It signifies a sad regression in India’s near-decade move away from the death penalty. Indian law allows for the death penalty, and death sentences are handed down by courts with some frequency. However, a 1980 Supreme Court ruling established the doctrine that the death penalty should only be used “in the rarest of the rare” cases. A single execution was carried out in 2004 after a lengthy unofficial moratorium earlier.

Human Rights Watch is opposed to the death penalty under all circumstances as an inherently irreversible, inhumane punishment. It is a practice abolished by a majority of world states. On December 18, 2007, the United Nations general assembly passed by a wide margin a resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions. In fact, the international community had moved further towards abolishing the death penalty on November 19, 2012, when...

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