Appeal to Indian President
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 27 October 1999, 10:07 GMT]
An appeal to the President of India, asking for clemency to save the lives of four who have been sentenced to death in connection with the assassination of former Indian Prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, was handed over to the Permanent Representative for India at the UN in Geneva yesterday.
A press release issued by the 'Save 26 Tamils Campaign Committee' stated "as a symbolic expression of this appeal, a crowd of over 200 people gathered on the 26th of October 1999 around 14:00 hours near the United Nations Buildings in Geneva. They all had their heads wrapped up with black cloth and pieces of rope round their necks to express their sorrowful and silent protest against this death-sentence."
The copies of this Appeal, which was signed by over 5000 persons, were also sent to Mr. Kofi Annan the Secretary General of the U.N.O and to Mrs. Mary Robinson, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Committee said.
Following is part of the text of the Appeal:
"Last Year a TADA Court in India condemned 26 people with death sentences. And later the Supreme Court of India freed 19 of them and sentenced the above to be executed.
All these four are young people with a long life to be lived through. In addition Nalini and her husband Murugan are the parents of a child to whom they gave birth while in prison. The death of the four above mentioned and condemning this child to be an orphan for life, pains us very deeply.
The 26 accused in this case were arrested under the TADA Act. By torturing and force statements were obtained from them. We would like you to note that, their Death Sentences were passed solely based on these statements.
Hence while respecting the ruling of the Supreme Court of India, in the name of these four lives we Tamils all over the world, turn helplessly to Your Excellency, as the only hope for the lives of all these four.
We the undersigned respectfully request Your Excellency to use Your Exalted Office as President of a Great India to do a Great Act of Mercy, in the name of Mother India and mitigate the death sentence on these four precious young lives."