SC stays execution of Red Fort attack convict

SC stays execution of Red Fort attack convict

Lawyer says sentence amounts to double punishment

SC stays execution of Red Fort attack convict

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the execution of Lashkar-e- Toiba terrorist Mohd Arif, alias Ashfaq, who was awarded capital punishment for attack on the Red Fort in 2000.

A three-judge bench, presided over by Chief Justice R M Lodha, also referred the petition by Ashfaq to the Constitution Bench to decide if a person can suffer two sentences consecutively and whether a higher punishment could be awarded after suffering a protracted jail term.

Advocate Tripurari Ray, appearing for Ashfaq, sought his release on the ground that since he had already spent over 13 years behind bars, he should not be hanged.

He submitted that execution of his death sentence would amount to punishing him twice for the crime as he has already spent over 13 years, which is nearly equivalent to life imprisonment suffered by a convict before he is entitled to remission.

The petition also said he has been suffering from physical and mental illness due to the long delay in judicial proceedings as also on the part of the government in executing the sentence.

He pointed out that Ashfaq had so far not filed any mercy petition.

Ashfaq was sentenced to death by a trial court in 2005.

The Supreme Court had in September 2011 dismissed Ashfaq’s appeal challenging the death sentence.

The HC had confirmed the punishment awarded to him in the December 22, 2000, Red Fort attack case. 

It had, however, acquitted six others in the case.

Ashfaq was found to be one of the six militants who had sneaked into the 17th-century monument and fired indiscriminately, killing two guards of the Rajputana Rifles and one civilian.