[Reader-list] Fwd: [pudr-info] FW: Stop Yakub Memon's Hanging

Nagraj Adve nagraj.adve at gmail.com
Mon Jul 20 23:29:19 CDT 2015

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "People's Union for Democratic Rights" <pudrdelhi at gmail.com>
Date: 20-Jul-2015 8:38 pm
Subject: [pudr-info] FW: Stop Yakub Memon's Hanging
To: <activist at pudr.org>
Cc: <pudr-info at pudr.org>, <cdro at pudr.org>

*From:* People's Union for Democratic Rights [mailto:pudrdelhi at gmail.com]
*Sent:* Monday, July 20, 2015 8:23 PM
*To:* pudrdelhi at gmail.com
*Subject:* Stop Yakub Memon's Hanging


Press Release

*Stop Yakub Memon’s Hanging*

On 15th July, the Maharashtra government announced that it has initiated
the process for hanging Yakub Memon. On 30th July, 2015 ‘he is to be hung
by the neck till dead’. The announcement seemed inevitable after the
Supreme Court had rejected his review petition on 10th April this year.
Except that Yakub Memon has still not exhausted all legal remedies as he
has a curative petition due to be heard in the Supreme Court on 21st July.
While the state government is treating the matter as already dried and
dusted and making a mockery of the justice system, there are some very
valid reasons for drawing attention to Yakub’s case for upholding our faith
in the judicial process:

1.      *Controversial arrest: *The police claimed to pick Yakub up from
the New Delhi Railway Station on 5th August 1994. In a letter written to
the Supreme Court in 1999, Yakub stated that he came to India on 28th July
1994.  He had been detained on 24th July at Kathmandu airport and then
handed over to the Indian agencies.

2.      *Implicated and sentenced for trying to help: *Yakub has maintained
all along that he had no foreknowledge of and had no hand in the conspiracy
leading to the Mumbai blasts of 1993. He was working towards voluntarily
returning to India to clear his name. He co-operated with the investigating
agencies and provided vital leads which have been acknowledged. However,
the Court never regarded these as mitigating factors.

3.      *No justice under TADA: *The Supreme Court in its 2013 judgement
confirming death sentence awarded by the TADA court in 2007, held that
Yakub officiated for Tiger Memon in Mumbai in the planning of the attacks
in the latter’s absence. The Court accepted that Yakub was nowhere directly
involved in the execution of the blasts, but his responsibility was greater
as he was one of the planners. It said that he “was constantly present at
the Al Husseini building, where the major part of the plan was made and
executed”, interacted with ‘Tiger’s men’, managed Tiger’s “ill-gotten
money,” arranged for air tickets to Dubai and vehicles which were used in
the attacks. He was convicted under TADA (now lapsed), IPC, Arms Act,
Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, and under sections of the
Explosive Substances Act on retracted confessions, on the statements of
approvers and on the confession of co-accused.

4.      *“Special Stigmatizing”*: Yakub had returned in 1994 believing that
there would be a fair trial. He was proved wrong. The judgement decreed
capital punishment for him because of his “position of dominance” and the
“gravity of the crime”. Significantly, the Court commuted the sentences of
the 10 others who had been awarded  capital punishment  by  the trial court.

5.      *Rejection of mitigating factors: *The Supreme Court deliberated on
the *aggravating and mitigating circumstances *while awarding the quantum
of punishment to all the death row convicts. Notably, in Yakub’s case, the
Court noted none other than the fact that he did not have a prior criminal
record. However, in the case of the other 10 others sentenced to death, the
Court noted several other mitigating factors like lengthy incarceration,
good behaviour, co-operating in the investigation, dependent family members
etc. which were equally applicable to him. In Yakub’s case, the beginning
and end of his being awarded death penalty then is clearly his relationship
with Tiger Memon.

6.      *A discriminated convict*:  While confirming the death sentence on
Yakub, the Court disregarded the fact that he suffered from depression from
1996. Ironically, a year later, while commuting the death penalty of 15
death row convicts in 2014, the same Court noted: “incarceration, in
addition to the reasonable time necessary for adjudication of mercy
petitions and preparation for execution, flouts the due process guaranteed
to the convict under Article 21 which inheres in every prisoner till his
last breath.”

7.      *Incarcerated for 21 years*: For 21 years Yakub has lived with the
“brooding horror” which “haunts” a condemned prisoner. To hang him now is
neither fair nor just as it is punishing him twice over. It is plain
vengeance which the state shows towards a condemned and defenceless man.

8.      *Denial of reform*: A chartered accountant by profession, Yakub was
known to be a silent observer during court proceedings. In 21 years of
which he has spent 8 years in the death row, he has completed two MAs, one
in English and the other in Political Science from IGNOU. Several recent
judgments have emphasised the importance of reform and rehabilitation based
on conduct. However, Yakub’s efforts have never been recognized.

9.      *A political hanging: *The judicial process through which Yakub has
been pronounced guilty and deserving of capital punishment has failed to
bring to justice the main perpetrators of anti-Muslim carnage in December
1992 and January 1993, despite the Srikrishna Commission of Inquiry
identifying a host of police officers and politicians belonging to Shiv
Sena for their role. In the last one year, a similar trend is observable in
the investigations into attacks committed by Hindu terror groups. 15
witnesses have turned hostile in the Ajmer Dargah blast (2007), the NIA has
closed the Modasa case (2008) and has pressured the special prosecutor to
‘go soft’ on the investigations into the Malegeon blasts (2008).

The impending hanging of Yakub Memon raises certain very significant
concerns regarding the role of the state and rights of people. As the above
points illustrate, Yakub’s ‘crime’ is that of guilt by association and he
is a scapegoat who has been conveniently caught and convicted as ‘most
guilty’. Yakub Memon returned as a conscientious Indian citizen, albeit
with a ‘criminal’ family background. If he is now hanged, the government
must take responsibility for sending out the message that a Muslim cannot
be a good citizen.

It is also imperative to ask as to what justice will be served through such
an execution? Such regressive judicial pronouncement yet again convinces us
that death penalty is not only prejudiced but also irrational. Fraught with
the possibility of judicial error, the irreversibility of the punishment
makes it totally condemnable. Globally, there is a move within countries to
progressively do away with this regressive form of punishment. PUDR
therefore urges the authorities including the judiciary in this case that
in the interests of justice to commute his sentence, and in light of his 21
year-long incarceration to release him.

Megha Bahl, Sharmila Purkayastha

Secretaries, PUDR

20th July 2015

Pudr-info mailing list
Pudr-info at pudr.org

More information about the reader-list mailing list