Statement by the ICDP (11 February 2013):
Execution of Mr Mohammad Afzal Guru in India
The International Commission against the Death Penalty (ICDP) deeply regrets the execution of Mr Mohammad Afzal Guru on 9 February 2013.
The execution, which took place at 0800 hours in Tihar Jail, New Delhi, reveals a worrying development as it is the second in India in just three months. Until November 2012, there had been no executions in the country since 2004.
Mr Afzal Guru was sentenced to death in December 2002 by a special court. He was convicted on charges related to an attack on the Parliament of India in Delhi in December 2001, in which seven members of the security forces were killed, as were five people who carried out the attack.
The Supreme Court of India confirmed the death sentence in August 2005. The President reportedly rejected Mr Afzal Guru’s mercy petition on 3 February 2013.
There have been serious concerns about the fairness of Mr Afzal Guru’s trial including lack of adequate legal representation and the secrecy surrounding his execution.
“The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights, and we urge the government of India to enact an immediate moratorium on executions. Capital punishment is an ineffective deterrent against violent crime and its use only damages society. States should deliver justice systems that protect the public from crime but without the recourse to the death penalty,” said Mr Federico Mayor, President of the ICDP.
“By carrying out executions, the government of India is going against the global trend where more than two-thirds of the countries have abolished the death penalty,” added Mr Mayor.
ICDP also urges the government of India to undertake a comprehensive review on the future use of capital punishment, which would enable it to reassess its use of the death penalty and alternatives to execution.
President of the International Commission against the Death Penalty
The International Commission against the Death Penalty (ICDP) was founded in Madrid in October 2010. ICDP is composed of 14 personalities of high international standing from all regions of the world who act with total independence and neutrality and work under its President Mr. Federico Mayor.
ICDP opposes the death penalty under any circumstances believing that it violates the right to life enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human rights. ICDP promotes the abolition of capital punishment in law in those states that observe a de facto moratorium on the use of the death penalty and promotes moratoriums on executions in states that rarely use the death penalty. In states that continue to carry out executions ICDP urges strict adherence to international standards.
ICDP works with the United Nations and other international and regional organizations, governments and nongovernmental organizations to further the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
The work of the ICDP is supported by a diverse group of 16 states from all regions of the world that are committed to the abolition of the death penalty. There is a small secretariat in Geneva.