Amnesty international opposes Supreme Court verdict of upholding death penalty for Nirbhaya rapists

Within an hour after the Supreme Court decided to keep the death penalty for the Nirbhaya case rapists intact, Human rights NGO Amnesty international came out to oppose the verdict. On Monday the apex court rejected the review plea by three of the four convicted rapists in Nirbhaya case, who have been given death penalty.

Opposing the verdict, amnesty International said that Supreme Court’s decision to uphold death penalty is an unfortunate step. “The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold death penalty for the accused in the Nirbhaya case is an unfortunate step towards the continued use of the death penalty in India,” The NGO said in a tweet.

“Unfortunately executions do not eradicate violence against women. There is no evidence to show that the death penalty acts as a deterrent for sexual violence or any other crime. Instead, the government must allocate adequate resources for the effective implementation of laws, improve conviction rates and ensure certainty of justice in all cases. Even the Justice Verma Committee, whose recommendations were relied upon to reform laws on sexual assault and rape, had opposed imposing the death penalty in cases of rape,” Amnesty International India said in a statement.

“All too often lawmakers in India hold up capital punishment as a symbol of their resolve to tackle crime, and choose to ignore more difficult and effective solutions like improving investigations, prosecutions and support for victims’ families. Far-reaching procedural and institutional reforms are the need of the hour,” the statement further read.

India is one of the few countries in the world that has actually expanded the scope of the death penalty by adopting new laws. In April 2018, the Central Government passed an ordinance introducing death penalty for those convicted of raping girls aged 12 years or younger.

The 23-year-old paramedical student, who came to be known as Nirbhaya (fearless), was assaulted and raped by six persons in a moving bus in South Delhi and thrown out with her male friend on the night of December 16, 2012. She subsequently succumbed to her injuries during treatment at a Singapore hospital on December 29 the same year after having battled bravely, even as the country expressed a mass outpouring of shock, grief and outrage at the brutality she had been subjected to.

In September 2013, a fast-track court in South Delhi held four accused in the case guilty and pronounced the death sentence to them. The trial court then referred the case to the Delhi High Court for confirmation of their death sentence. The Supreme Court had on May 5, last year, upheld the Delhi High Court order of death penalty to the four convicts.

(With inputs from Republic TV)