July 27, 2011 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
New York (July 25, 2011): Hundreds of Sikhs held a protest demonstration near UN headquarters in New York seeking the world body’s intervention to stop India from executing Devenderpal Singh Bhullar, a Sikh nationalist who has been sentenced to death for his alleged involvement in a terror attack in New Delhi.
In a memorandum submitted to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the Sikhs, representing various gurdwaras and associations across the US, demanded intervention by the United Nations to save Bhullar’s life. The memorandum also reminded the UN chief of the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly that called on nations to put a moratorium on the death penalty.
“The use of the death penalty undermines human dignity and any miscarriage or failure of justice in the implementation of the death penalty is irreversible and irreparable,” the memorandum said. Bhullar was sentenced to death for masterminding a 1993 car bomb attack in front of the Youth Congress office in New Delhi that killed 9 people. Gurpatwant Pannun, legal advisor to Sikhs for Justice, a advocacy group, which sponsored the rally, said.
Bhullar was convicted on the basis of “a confessional statement obtained from him through torture. It is a matter of record that India is not a signatory to UN Convention Against Torture and India practices torture on detainees”.
“There is no justice in this case,” said Pannun. “Professor Bhullar was tortured into giving a confession and there is no other evidence against him. On top of that, Bhullar is a witness in three other cases where police officials allegedly participated in the killing of his family. It’s well known by human rights groups that Indian police will resort to torture to extract confessions and it’s no secret that India refuses to become a signatory to UN Convention Against Torture. We need UN to intervene.”
Speaking at the rally, Lawrence Hayes, former death row inmate who co-founded the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, said the Indian legal and judicial system was being used for “elimination of any form of opposition.
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