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'Sarabjit deserves no leniency'
K J M Varma in Islamabad | September 14, 2005 13:09 IST
Last Updated: September 14, 2005 13:53 IST
The death sentence for Sarabjit Singh is 'well deserved' and 'warrants no leniency', the Pakistan Supreme Court ruled, while upholding capital punishment on the Indian convicted for carrying out five bomb blasts in Pakistan in 1990.
"The death sentence is well-deserved and he (Sarabjit alias Manjeet) did not warrant any leniency," said the detailed 27-page verdict, authored by Justice Mohammad Nawaz Abbasi.
The judgement also took exception to the trial court for convicting him only on one count of terrorism, 'when he should have been convicted and sentenced separately for each murder in each case,' the local daily Dawn reported on Wednesday.
On August 18, a two-member bench of the apex court upheld the death sentence awarded to Sarabjit Singh, dismissing his appeals on similar judgements of the Lahore High Court and Anti-Terrorism Court. Sarabjit, alias Manjeet, was convicted of carrying out five bomb blasts that left 14 killed and 89 injured.
His lawyer, Abdul Hamid Rana, told PTI from Lahore that he had not yet received a copy of the detailed judgement and that he would file a review petition as soon as he got it. Hamid further said that he would file a mercy petition to the Pakistan president, if the Supreme court confirmed the death penalty in its review.
"I will file a review petition as soon as I receive a copy of the detailed judgement," Hamid said, adding that he had not been allowed to meet Sarabjit, who is lodged in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore. As per procedures, the review petition should be filed within 30 days after receiving detailed judgment and the court also grants minimum 15 days more to prepare the legal defence for the review petition.
"I want to meet my client before I file a review petition," he said. Hamid added that recent television interviews given by one of the witnesses in the case asserting that he was forced by the prosecution to identify Singh as the one who carried out the bomb attack had no legal value until the witness contradicts his statement in the court itself.
For his part, he would try to refer to the reported contradiction in his review petition, Hamid said, adding that he would also try to point out the confusion over identity between Manjeet and Sarabjit. Meanwhile, newspapers in Pakistan carried reports of the details of the charges, stating that there was no confusion over the identity of Sarabjit and Manjeet Singh, while PTV briefly showed the video footage of Sarabjit admitting that he was an Indian spy.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid M Kasuri, who had maintained that the constitution authorised the President to pardon convicts said on Tuesday that under Islamic law, the kin of those killed in the blasts may have to forgive Singh. "Under the law death sentence could be commuted to life imprisonment if the relatives pardoned Singh," Kasuri told an Indian TV channel on Tuesday.