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Oct 20 fixed for execution of Afzal
Pak trained terrorist not to move mercy plea to President
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, September 26
A city court today fixed October 20 for hanging Parliament attack case convict Mohammed Afzal, a Pakistan trained terrorist, after the Supreme Court had upheld his death sentence in a final judgement in August last year.

The death warrant for his execution at 6 am on October 20 was signed by Additional Sessions Judge Ravinder Kaur today as was required under the law after the apex court had finally decided the case.

He was found guilty of actively participating in the criminal conspiracy that led to the well executed attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001 by heavily armed five Pakistani terrorists.

A special POTA court had given capital punishment to him, Shaukat Hussain Guru and Delhi College lecturer S.A.R. Geelani, but the Delhi High Court in its October 23, 2003 judgement had let off the latter and upheld the death sentence of the former two.

Mohammed Afzal had not preferred any mercy petition before the President, a last opportunity available to a capital punishment awardee under the law for conversion of death sentence in to life imprisonment.

But the Supreme Court did not find the evidence sufficient against Shaukat Hussain about his involvement in the conspiracy and converted his sentence to 10 years rigorous imprisonment for hiding the plot from the police of which he surely had a knowledge when he was running a business as a fruit trader in Azadpur market here.

According to the prosecution, the five Pakistani terrorists had stayed in Shaukat’s house in Delhi but the apex court was not satisfied with the evidence produced. His wife Navjot Sandhu, alias Afsan, sentenced to five-year imprisonment, was also let off by the high court.

The Supreme Court though had upheld the acquittal of Geelani by the high court but had passed serious strictures against him for his conduct, saying it was not above suspicion but a person could not be convicted merely on the basis of “suspicion.”

In one of the fastest disposal of criminal case right from the trial court up to the Supreme Court, the POTA court had pronounced its judgement on December 18, 2002 exactly a year after the attack on Parliament in which all five Pakistani terrorists— Mohammed, Haider, Hamza, Rana and Raja — were gunned down by security forces. In the gun battle eight jawans had also lost their lives. The high court and the apex court took nearly three years to dispose of the case.

In the final verdict, the apex court found sufficient evidence against Afzal and upheld his conviction and death sentence under various provisions of POTA (now repealed), the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act.

Afzal was found guilty of waging war against India, conspiring to cause murders of several persons and of indulging in terrorist activities.

The Supreme Court had said there was not even a “shred of doubt about his complicity in the hatching of the criminal plot to attack Indian Parliament,” which fell in the category of “rarest of the rare” cases warranting punishment not less then the death sentence.

The apex court had concluded that “the collective conscience of the society will be satisfied only if death penalty is awarded to Mohammed Afzal.”



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