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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > International Frame of Struggle for Tamil Eelam > India & the Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Rajiv Gandhi Assassination - the Verdict >Who really killed Rajiv Gandhi? - Norman Baker 1992 > Rajiv Gandhi - the Secret Trial - Nadesan Satyendra, 1992 > Rajiv Gandhi's Assassination: Transnational Connections - Major General Asfir Karim, 1993 > Rajiv Gandhi Assassination: Highlights of Complex Plot, India Today Report, 1996 > Jain Commission Report on Rajiv Gandhi Assassination 1997 > Prabhu Chawla on Jain Commission Report, 1997 > India's lack on grit on Tamil Tigers led to Rajiv assassination says Jyotindra Nath Dixit, 1997 > Who killed Olof Palme and Rajiv Gandhi?, 1997 > International appeals against verdict in Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Trial, 1998/99 > Accused in Rajiv case not given fair Trial - Law Committee, 1999 > Triumph of Truth – The Rajiv Gandhi Assassination – The Investigation, by D.R.Kaarthikeyan and Radhavinod Raju - Book Review by Sachi Sri Kantha, 2004
India & the Struggle for Tamil Eelam
Accused in Rajiv case not given fair trial
Hindu, 10 December 1999
CHENNAI, DEC. 9. The on-going campaign for abolishing death penalty is centered around the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case because the prisoners did not get a fair trial, a meeting organised by the lawyers committee against death penalty was told here today.
Addressing the meet, senior advocate, Mr.K. Chandru said that as in the Rowlatt Act of 1919, the TADA Act had provisions to hold in-camera trials, accept confessional statements given by accused before a senior police officer, and witnesses can remain unnamed. Gandhiji had opposed the Rowlatt Act as draconian, and anti- people. ``How can one support a trial which followed the same route under a black law or the sentence given under such a law. Curiously, the Supreme Court had stated that TADA Act would not hold good in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, but it had upheld the death penalty for four prisoners. No one knew what happened in the trial proceedings,`` he said and added that the nature of the trial would make one believe that it was not held in a fair manner.
He said the campaign should not be held as being pro- LTTE. But people should understand that the philosophy of penalties itself was changing.
Speakers including former judges, Mr. P. Venugopal and Mr. N. Krishnaswamy Reddi, advocates Mr.P. Jayaraman, Mr. S. Doraisamy and Ms. Geetha Ramaseshan, noted that most countries including the U.K., whose legal system India followed, had done away with death sentence. Even international war crime tribunals were awarding only life sentences for ``crimes against humanity''. This was because of the emerging philosophy among criminologists that punishment in the form of revenge and retribution had no place in a civilised society.
While law did not permit revenge in the form of eye for an eye or tooth for a tooth, how could people accept death penalty for murder, they asked. The campaign against death penalty was not new, as even in the Indira Gandhi assassination case and many other death penalty cases, civil rights and people's organisations had been fighting the issue.
They also pointed out all those who have faced the death row till now came from poor background. Thus capital punishment was not for those ``with capital''. Amnesty International, after studying over 500 death row cases in the U.S had held the death penalty as ``racist''.
Ms.Sudha Ramalingam of the People's Union of Civil Liberties, said the campaign should focus not merely on the Rajiv assassins but all the nine persons facing death penalty in Tamil Nadu.