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India top court commutes 15 death sentences due to delays

India's Supreme Court commuted the sentences of 15 death row convicts on Tuesday, ruling that delays in their execution were grounds to change their sentences to life imprisonment. "Delay is a grounds for commuting death penalty to life sentence," read a ruling from a three-judge panel headed by Chief Justice Palanisamy Sathasivam, which said mental illness and solitary confinement could also be reasons for commuting sentences. A total of 15 people had challenged their death sentences due to the time taken for the president to answer their mercy petitions.

Pakistan charges two with Indian spy's murder

Pakistan has charged two prisoners with the murder of an Indian man jailed for espionage, officials said Thursday. Sarabjit Singh, who was sentenced 16 years ago over deadly bombings, died in the early hours of Thursday from injuries suffered in an attack on April 26. "We have added a murder clause to the police complaint," Tariq Mehmood, a police official at Lahore's Kot Lakhpat police station, told AFP. The two suspects were taken into custody immediately after last week's attack.

Indian spy attacked in Pakistan jail dies

An Indian national on death row in Pakistan who was attacked last week by fellow inmates has died from his injuries, reports said early Thursday. Sarabjit Singh, who was sentenced to death 16 years ago on espionage charges, was rushed to hospital on Friday with multiple wounds, including a severe head injury, after an argument in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat Jail. Officials at the Lahore hospital where Singh, 49, was being treated said he died at 1:00 am local time (2000 GMT), the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.

Passer-by dies as police fire on Indian Kashmir protest

One man was killed Tuesday in restive Indian Kashmir when soldiers fired at demonstrators demanding an inquiry into the death of a Kashmiri research scholar who was found hanged in southern India. The soldiers opened fire on a "small group of stone-throwing protesters and a passer-by was killed", a senior police official told AFP on condition of anonymity. The dead man was identified by police as Tahir Ahmed Sofi, a university student in his twenties. Four people taking part in the protest were injured in the firing, police said.

UPDATE 1-India says warned of bombs that killed 16 in IT hub Hyderabad

(Adds Pakistan response, updates death toll, adds detail) By Shafiq Mohammed HYDERABAD, India, Feb 22 (Reuters) - India had intelligence agency warnings of a security threat several days before two bombs went off in a market in the city of Hyderabad, the interior minister said on Friday, adding that the death toll had risen to 16.

India says warned of bombs that killed 14 in IT hub Hyderabad

By Shafiq Mohammed HYDERABAD, India, Feb 22 (Reuters) - India had intelligence warnings of a security threat several days before two bicycle bombs ripped through a market in the southern city of Hyderabad, the home minister said on Friday, adding that the death toll had risen to 14. Six people were in critical condition after the near-simultaneous blasts on Thursday, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said after visiting the site and one of seven hospitals treating victims among the 119 wounded.

India stays executions of four to hear final appeal

India's Supreme Court Monday delayed the execution of four death-row convicts until it hears an appeal later in the week as rights groups voiced growing concern over recent hangings in the country. The Supreme Court said it would hear a plea on Wednesday from the four accomplices of slain "bandit king" Veerappan, who were sentenced to death in 2004 for their role in a landmine blast in southern India that killed 22 policemen. "In the meantime the execution of the death sentence of the four convicts shall remain stayed," the Supreme Court said.

Separatist's family snubs India's offer to visit jail grave

The family of a Kashmiri separatist who was executed at the weekend has rejected an offer by Indian authorities to pray at his graveside inside a prison, insisting the body be buried in his home state. Home Secretary R.K. Singh made the offer Tuesday and said that the belongings of Mohammed Afzal Guru, an Indian Muslim who was executed and buried at Tihar Jail on Saturday, would be handed over to his family members.

Amnesty condemns India's execution of parliament attacker

Amnesty International on Saturday condemned India's execution of a Kashmiri separatist over a deadly 2001 attack on parliament, saying his trial fell "considerably short" of international fair standards. Mohammed Afzal Guru's execution also suggested a "disturbing" trend towards the resumption of death penalty use in India, said the global human rights group. "We condemn the execution in the strongest possible terms," said Shashikumar Velath, programmes director of Amnesty's India wing.

URGENT ¥¥¥ India parliament attack plotter hanged: official

A fruit seller who was sentenced to death for taking part in the plot to attack India's parliament in 2001 was executed on Saturday after his final mercy plea was rejected, the home secretary told AFP. Mohammed Afzal Guru was executed around 7:30 am (0200 GMT) at Tihar jail on the outskirts of Delhi. Home Secretary R. K. Singh told AFP: "Yes, he has been hanged." rn/co/jah
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