President urged to reconsider Yakub’s mercy plea

New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) Eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani and leaders from four political parties were among around 200 people who on Sunday urged President Pranab Mukherjee to reconsider the mercy plea of the 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon, set to hang in Nagpur on July 30.

Those who endorsed the petition included BJP’s Shatrughan Sinha, Congress’ Mani Shankar Aiyer, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D. Raja, actor Naseeruddin Shah, filmmaker Mahesh Bhat, activist Tushar Gandhi, lawyer Vrinda Grover and economist Jean Dreze.

The petition asked the president to stay the imminent execution “so that the substantive and fresh grounds” raised can be considered on merits.

The submission came a day before the Supreme Court hears a plea by Yakub Memon for a stay on his execution.

“The president under article 72 of the constitution has the power to grant pardon and to suspend, remit or commute sentence in certain cases. It is in this way that the constitution permits right of appeal,” the letter said.

The apex court on July 21 rejected Memon’s curative petition saying it was void of merit. The same day, he filed a mercy petition before the Maharashtra governor seeking commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment.

Evoking international law, the letter said: “The plea of enforceability of various international covenant is now no longer a matter of debate but should be considered to be firmly established as a part of international law which the domestic courts are duty bound to give effect to.”

The petition said the decision to fix the date of execution was illegal.

“Yakub Memon was not given advance notice of the death warrant hearing and as a result of which he and his lawyers could not participate and contest the issuance of the death warrant,” it said.

It listed the long duration of trial and incarceration suffered till date by Yakub Menon, and said he was mentally unfit to face the gallows.

“Grant of mercy in this case will send out a message that while this country will not tolerate acts of terrorism, as a nation we are committed to equal application of the power of mercy and values of forgiveness, and justice.

“Bloodletting and human sacrifice will not make this country a safer place; it will, however, degrade us all,” it said.


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