UA: 167/11 Index: ASA 20/026/2011 India Date: 03 June 2011
INDIA TURNS DOWN SECOND MERCY PETITION
Devender Pal Singh is at risk of imminent execution in New Delhi, India, after the President of
India rejected his mercy petition in May. This is the second petition rejected in the same month.
Devender Pal Singh (also known as Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar) was sentenced to death in August 2001 after being
found guilty of involvement in bomb attack in New Delhi in 1993 that killed nine. He was found guilty solely on the
basis of an unsubstantiated confession he made to police and later retracted as being made under police pressure.
He was arrested under the subsequently-lapsed Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) at New
Delhi Airport in January 1995, after being deported from Germany where he had sought political asylum. TADA is
recognised as containing provisions that are incompatible with international standards for fair trial.
In March 2002, the death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court, with two judges in favour and the senior
judge acquitting Devender Pal Singh. In December 2002, a review petition challenging the legitimacy of the death
penalty was rejected by the same three judges maintaining a difference of opinion. The two judges in favour of the
death sentence observed that the non-unanimous sentence could be a factor considered in the mercy petition
process. Although other mercy petitions appear to have been accepted on the same ground, Devender Pal Singh’s
petition was rejected by the President in May 2011.
In addition to concerns about the fairness of the trial, the eight-year delay in announcing the verdict of the mercy
petition and the resulting prolonged stay on death row may amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
Devender Pal Singh was admitted into a New Delhi psychiatric facility in January and has reportedly attempted to
commit suicide a number of times.
The Chief Justice of India has previously described the time spent by a condemned prisoner on death row as “living
death”. The Supreme Court of India has also ruled that delay in executing the death sentence is a factor in deciding
on the commutation of a death sentence and has commuted death sentences in a number of cases due to long
delays in deciding mercy petitions.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English or your own language:
Urge the authorities to commute the death sentence of Devender Pal Singh;
Acknowledge the seriousness of the crime for which Devender Pal Singh has been convicted, but raise concern
that trial may not have met international fair trial standards and that his prolonged stay on death row, due to the
mercy petition kept pending for eight years, may amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment;
Reiterating the call of the UN General Assembly to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to
abolishing the death penalty, and pointing out that India’s decision to resume executions after a seven-year hiatus
goes against regional and global trends towards abolition of the death penalty.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 15 JULY 2011 TO:
Prime Minister of India:
Dr. Manmohan Singh
South Block, Raisina Hill
New Delhi 110 001
Fax: +9111 2301 9545
Email: (via form)
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister
President of India:
New Delhi 110 004
Fax: +9111 2301 7290 / 2301 7824
Email: (via form)
Salutation: Dear President
And copies to:
Minister of Home Affairs
North Block, Central Secretariat
New Delhi – 110 001
Fax: + 91 11 2309 4221
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.