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death-penalty1Amnesty International Wednesday urged Indian authorities to commute all death sentences to life imprisonment and impose a moratorium on executions.

The Amnesty appeal came a day ahead of the World Day Against Death Penalty Thursday.

Amnesty said at least 23 people in India were at risk of execution.

The cases of 18 people on death row, at risk of imminent execution and seeking commutation of their death sentences on grounds including delay in the disposal of their mercy petitions, are scheduled to be heard together by the Supreme Court starting Oct 22.

Another five prisoners, most of whose mercy petitions have been rejected, are also on death row.

Amnesty said the use of the death penalty in India had been repeatedly acknowledged by Indian courts to be arbitrary, inconsistent, biased and flawed.

“There is no convincing evidence that capital punishment has a unique deterrent effect on crime, and its use puts India in a minority of countries that continue to execute.

“Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.

“The death penalty violates the right to life, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.”


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