Alert Update: Urgent Action Required to Save Afzal Guru

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IHRC urges all campaigners to take urgent action to save the life of Muhammad Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri Muslim facing execution for his alleged role in the attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001.

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Islamic Human Rights Commission
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18 April 2007

Alert Update: Urgent Action Required to Save Afzal Guru


1. Background
2. Suggested Action
3. Sample Letters


1. Background

IHRC urges all campaigners to take urgent action to save the life of Muhammad Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri Muslim facing execution for his alleged role in the attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001.

Afzal faces hanging although:

• There is no direct evidence against him and he is known not to have injured or harmed anyone
• The Courts have found that the investigating agencies deliberately fabricated evidence and forged documents against him and others accused
• He was severely tortured by the Special Cell of the Delhi police and was forced to “confess” in front of the national media thereby prejudicing the outcome of the trial.
• He was denied an opportunity to defend himself – he did not even have a lawyer

Afzal was due to be hanged on October 20, 2006 but a stay on his execution was obtained through a Mercy Petition to the Indian President. He is still waiting to hear whether the President will intervene to save his life. Right-wing elements in India have begun a campaign to speed up the process of execution.

The President of India Dr A P J Abdul Kalam is due to address the European Parliament on 25 April 2007. It is crucial that the European Parliament stresses to President Kalam that executing Afzal will be a grave miscarriage of justice which will not bode well for India's relationship with Europe.

For further details of Afzal Guru's case, please visit http://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=2480 and http://justiceforafzalguru.org/


2. Suggested Action

IHRC requests campaigners to write to the following parties. Please copy letters to info@ihrc.org .
a) Write to the President of the European Parliament Mr Hans-Gert Poettering, MEP and request that he call upon President Kalam to grant Afzal Guru a full presidential pardon.

Prof. Dr. Hans-Gert Poettering, MEP
President
Parlement européen
Bât. Paul-Henri Spaak
11B011
60, rue Wiertz / Wiertzstraat 60
B-1047 Bruxelles/Brussel

Fax : +32 (0)2 28 49769
Email: hans-gert.poettering@europarl.europa.eu


b) Write to your MEP and ask him to raise it with both the President of India and the President of the European Parliament. UK-based campaigners can find out details for their MEPs at the link below

http://www.europarl.org.uk/uk_meps/MembersMain.htm


c) Write to the Indian president and appeal to him to rescind Afzal's death sentence and grant him a full presidential pardon.

Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
President of India
Rashtrapati Bhawan,
New Delhi
INDIA

Fax: +91 11 2301 7290
Email: presidentofindia@rb.nic.in

Sign the petition against Mr. Guru's death penalty, addressed for the President of India, which is available online at http://www.petitiononline.com/ekta1/petition.html


d) Write to your local Indian embassy / high commission. The details for the Indian High Commission in London are below. For your local embassy details, please see http://www.india-visa.com/

HE Mr Kamalesh Sharma
Office of the High Commissioner for India
India House
Aldwych
London WC2B 4NA

Fax: (020) 7836 4331


e) Write to the Chairperson of Indian National Human Rights Commission and appeal to him to work diligently for Afzal's immediate release.

Dr. Justice Shivaraj V. Patil,
Chairperson,
National Human Rights Commission,
Faridkot House,
Copernicus Marg
New Delhi 110001

Fax: +91 11 2338 4863
Email: covdnhrc@nic.in, ionhrc@nic.in


f) Write to the Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett to make representations to her Indian counterparts to work for Afzal's immediate release.

Rt. Hon. Margaret Beckett MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH

Fax: +44 0207 839 2417
Email: private.office@fco.gov.uk


3. Sample Letters

Sample Letter to President of European Parliament

[Your Name]
[Your Address]


[Date]


Prof. Dr. Hans-Gert Poettering, MEP
President
Parlement européen
Bât. Paul-Henri Spaak
11B011
60, rue Wiertz / Wiertzstraat 60
B-1047 Bruxelles/Brussel

Dear Mr President,

Re: Mohammad Afzal Guru, death penalty case, India, currently awaiting a presidential pardon from President Abdul Kalam

I am writing to you ahead of the visit of Indian President Abdul Kalam to the European Parliament on 25 April 2007 about the case of Mohammad Afzal Guru, who is currently on death row in India\'s Tihar Jail and who is awaiting a presidential pardon from President Abdul Kalam.

Mohammad Afzal Guru was sentenced to death in December 2002 after being convicted of conspiracy to attack the Parliament of India, waging war against India and murder. Two of his co-accused have since been fully acquitted due to lack of evidence. All were sentenced by a special court designated under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), which was repealed by the Government of India in September 2004 on the grounds that it had been misused and falls considerably short of international fair trial standards.

Afzal Guru was scheduled to be executed on 20 October 2006. However, his execution was stayed following the filing of a mercy petition on the grounds that he did not receive a fair trial and that he was not provided with legal representation during his trial. It is widely accepted by human rights lawyers and activists in India that the conviction of Afzal Guru was a serious miscarriage of justice, based on circumstantial evidence much of which was rejected by both the High Court and the Supreme Court of India.

Furthermore, the Courts have found that the investigating agencies deliberately fabricated evidence and forged documents against him and others accused. There is much evidence that he was severely tortured by the Special Cell of the Delhi police and was forced to “confess” in front of the national media thereby prejudicing the outcome of the trial.

The mercy petition is still pending with the President of India who alone has the final decision on whether to commute or approve the death sentence.

The Europe Parliament is the standard bearer for human rights within the European Union. I urge you to use your good offices to urge President Abdul Kalam to show mercy and grant a Presidential Pardon to Mohammad Afzal Guru.


Yours sincerely,


[Your Signature]
[Your Name]

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Sample Letter to your MEP

[Your Name]
[Your Address]


[Date]


[Recipeint's Name] MEP
[Receipient's Address]

Dear [Recipient's Name],

Re: Mohammad Afzal Guru, death penalty case, India, currently awaiting a presidential pardon from President Abdul Kalam

I am writing to you ahead of the visit of Indian President Abdul Kalam to the European Parliament on 25 April 2007 about the case of Mohammad Afzal Guru, who is currently on death row in India\'s Tihar Jail and who is awaiting a presidential pardon from President Abdul Kalam.

Mohammad Afzal Guru was sentenced to death in December 2002 after being convicted of conspiracy to attack the Parliament of India, waging war against India and murder. Two of his co-accused have since been fully acquitted due to lack of evidence. All were sentenced by a special court designated under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), which was repealed by the Government of India in September 2004 on the grounds that it had been misused and falls considerably short of international fair trial standards.

Afzal Guru was scheduled to be executed on 20 October 2006. However, his execution was stayed following the filing of a mercy petition on the grounds that he did not receive a fair trial and that he was not provided with legal representation during his trial. It is widely accepted by human rights lawyers and activists in India that the conviction of Afzal Guru was a serious miscarriage of justice, based on circumstantial evidence much of which was rejected by both the High Court and the Supreme Court of India.

Furthermore, the Courts have found that the investigating agencies deliberately fabricated evidence and forged documents against him and others accused. There is much evidence that he was severely tortured by the Special Cell of the Delhi police and was forced to “confess” in front of the national media thereby prejudicing the outcome of the trial.

The mercy petition is still pending with the President of India who alone has the final decision on whether to commute or approve the death sentence.

The Europe Parliament is the standard bearer for human rights within the European Union. I urge you to use your position to highlight Mohammad Afzal Guru's case in the European Parliament and to urge President Abdul Kalam to show mercy and grant him a Presidential Pardon.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Signature]
[Your Name]

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Sample Letter to Indian President

[Your Name]
[Your Address]


[Date]

Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
President of India
Rashtrapati Bhawan,
New Delhi
INDIA

Dear Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam,

Re: Appeal for the immediate release of Mohammad Afzal Guru

I am writing to you to request your immediate attention to the case of Mohammad Afzal Guru who faces a serious violation of human rights in India. I request you to exercise your constitutional powers to prevent a grave miscarriage of justice in his case.

Afzal Guru was arrested in relation to the attack on the Indian Parliament and was sentenced to death on 18 December 2002. He was due to be hanged on 20 October 2006. However, his execution was stayed following the filing of a mercy petition on the grounds that he did not receive a fair trial and that he was not provided with legal representation during his trial. It is widely accepted by human rights lawyers and activists in India that the conviction of Afzal Guru was a serious miscarriage of justice, based on circumstantial evidence much of which was rejected by both the High Court and the Supreme Court of India.

Furthermore, the Courts have found that the investigating agencies deliberately fabricated evidence and forged documents against him and others accused. There is much evidence that he was severely tortured by the Special Cell of the Delhi police and was forced to “confess” in front of the national media thereby prejudicing the outcome of the trial.

In light of the above, I urge you to grant a full presidential pardon to Afzal Guru who is clearly innocent and has suffered much injustice through the course of this trial. Executing an innocent man will not bring justice to the victims of the parliament attack. Therefore, I urge you to you to ensure that a fresh enquiry is launched into that attack.

I look forward to hearing from you soon on this urgent matter,


Yours sincerely,


[Your Signature]
[Your Name]

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Sample Letter to Indian National Human Rights Commission and Indian High Commission

[Your Name]
[Your Address]


[Date]


[Recipeint's Name]
[Receipient's Address]


Dear [Recipient's Name],

Re: Appeal for the immediate release of Mohammad Afzal Guru

I am writing to you to request your immediate attention to the case of Mohammad Afzal Guru who faces a serious violation of human rights in India. I request you to exercise your constitutional powers to prevent a grave miscarriage of justice in his case.

Afzal Guru was arrested in relation to the attack on the Indian Parliament and was sentenced to death on 18 December 2002. He was due to be hanged on 20 October 2006. However, his execution was stayed following the filing of a mercy petition on the grounds that he did not receive a fair trial and that he was not provided with legal representation during his trial. It is widely accepted by human rights lawyers and activists in India that the conviction of Afzal Guru was a serious miscarriage of justice, based on circumstantial evidence much of which was rejected by both the High Court and the Supreme Court of India.

Furthermore, the Courts have found that the investigating agencies deliberately fabricated evidence and forged documents against him and others accused. There is much evidence that he was severely tortured by the Special Cell of the Delhi police and was forced to “confess” in front of the national media thereby prejudicing the outcome of the trial.

In light of the above, I urge you to work towards the granting of a full presidential pardon to Afzal Guru who is clearly innocent and has suffered much injustice through the course of this trial. Executing an innocent man will not bring justice to the victims of the parliament attack. Therefore, I urge you to call for a fresh enquiry into that attack.

I look forward to hearing from you soon on this urgent matter,


Yours sincerely,


[Your Signature]
[Your Name]

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Sample Letter to British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett

[Your Name]
[Your Address]


[Date]


Rt. Hon. Margaret Beckett MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH

Dear Ms Beckett:

Re: Mohammad Afzal Guru, death penalty case, India, currently awaiting a presidential pardon from President Abdul Kalam

I am writing to you about the case of Mohammad Afzal Guru, who is currently on death row in India\'s Tihar Jail and who is awaiting a presidential pardon from the Indian President Abdul Kalam.

Mohammad Afzal Guru was sentenced to death in December 2002 after being convicted of conspiracy to attack the Parliament of India, waging war against India and murder. Two of his co-accused have since been fully acquitted due to lack of evidence. All were sentenced by a special court designated under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), which was repealed by the Government of India in September 2004 on the grounds that it had been misused and falls considerably short of international fair trial standards.

Afzal Guru was scheduled to be executed on 20 October 2006. However, his execution was stayed following the filing of a mercy petition on the grounds that he did not receive a fair trial and that he was not provided with legal representation during his trial. It is widely accepted by human rights lawyers and activists in India that the conviction of Afzal Guru was a serious miscarriage of justice, based on circumstantial evidence much of which was rejected by both the High Court and the Supreme Court of India.

Furthermore, the Courts have found that the investigating agencies deliberately fabricated evidence and forged documents against him and others accused. There is much evidence that he was severely tortured by the Special Cell of the Delhi police and was forced to “confess” in front of the national media thereby prejudicing the outcome of the trial.

The mercy petition is still pending with the President of India who alone has the final decision on whether to commute or approve the death sentence.

I request you to make representations to your Indian counterparts to work for the full presidential pardon and release of Mohammad Afzal Guru. He is clearly innocent and has already suffered much injustice through the course of this trial.

I look forward to hearing from you soon on this urgent matter,


Yours sincerely,

[Your Signature]
[Your Name]


For more information, please contact the office on the numbers or email below:

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Wembley
HA9 7XH
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183
Email: info@ihrc.org
Web: www.ihrc.org.uk

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“And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper.”
Holy Qur'an: Chapter 4, Verse 75

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