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4 pm Feb 09, 2013

On the hanging of Afzal Guru

Afzal Guru, convicted for the 2001 Parliament attack, was hanged to death on the morning of February 9. Meenakshi Ganguly, director of Human Rights Watch, gives the human rights perspective on the matter.
5 questions answered
  • Did Afzal Guru get a fair trial? Asked by: Shammi
  • Meenakshi Ganguly Many activists and lawyers have expressed concern that he did not have access to proper legal counsel during the initial trial. See Indira Jaising oped http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/NM21/A-travesty-of-justice/Article1-201020.aspx
  • Doesn't Afzal's family have the right to bury his body? Hang him, but at least show some respect! Asked by: Harish
  • Meenakshi Ganguly am unaware of why this decision was made. but assume it was because of security considerations.
  • Capital punishment should be abolished. Even the USA, in states where capital punishment is still in law, crime rate is more than in states where it is not. In Europe, most of the countries don't have capital punishment. Where is this country heading? The govt. and political parties are still for it. Your views! Asked by: Gaurav
  • Meenakshi Ganguly There was a draft resolution by the United Nations General Assembly’s human rights committee in 2012 calling for a global moratorium on capital punishment. India was among the 39 countries that voted against the draft resolution, which was adopted with 110 votes in favor. Thirty-six countries abstained. The US continues to use the death penalty. Saudi Arabia recently executed a young Sri Lankan woman. When she was a teenager, a baby in her care had died. The death penalty should be abolished because it is an inherently irreversible, inhumane punishment.
  • Human rights groups, over time, have always said that usually human rights are not taken care of in most cases. But the fact is that nothing is perfect. So even in Afzal Guru's case, people will argue that he was not properly taken care of. Even Guru's family will say this. Do you think that human rights group should introspect? Asked by: Gaurav
  • Meenakshi Ganguly Human rights group try to ensure that rule of law is protected. We, as citizens, should not accept that 'nothing is perfect." India is still a young country, and we want it to be perfect. Nor should we become a country that is so disenchanted that we blame politicians for all ill, but fail to vote.
  • Isn't the goverment alienating a whole society by these willful decisions?how do u see things progessing? Asked by: ceils
  • Meenakshi Ganguly Those that claim to speak for a billion people in a noisy democracy should be cautious. The entire nation was not waiting for Afzal Guru to be hanged. However, it is perhaps right to assume that the entire nation would like an effective justice system. More than anything else, the priority is social justice, so that every community, even the most marginalized, does not have to be hungry or malnourished, is treated with dignity, has access to health, livelihood and education

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Meenakshi Ganguly
Director, South Asia, Human Rights Watch