People’s Union for Democratic Rights strongly condemns the reported decision taken today to hang Mohd. Afzal on 20th October 2006. Not only does PUDR condemn death penalty in principle, but in this case, PUDR has followed the Parliament attack case closely from the time it was committed to trial under POTA and had observed the denial of fair trial in this particular case. PUDR’s report, A Trial of Errors, noted, “It is perhaps inherent in a trial under POTA that the accused is disabled to a point where rules of evidence become pliable and conjecture can take over and death sentences become easy to award.” Unfortunately, our apprehensions have come true. Besides lack of fair trial, it is well known that Mohd. Afzal did not have access to proper legal aid during the course of trial. Therefore, the punishment of death penalty to Mohd Afzal is unfair and must be commuted.
What is even more shocking is the fact that the date of hanging coincides with Diwali. Clearly, the hanging is meant to be a celebration for majoritarian Hindu forces.