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 Full text 
Thursday, 23 May 2013 - Strasbourg Revised edition

India: execution of Mohammad Afzal Guru and its implications

  Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE). - Mr President, as a matter of fact we are not confronting a simple philosophical question here. The death penalty is an irreversible and cruel punishment which violates the right to life. It is a norm recognised by all members of the UN in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and there is no evidence at all to suggest that it serves as a deterrent.

In the specific case we are dealing with, national and international human rights organisations have raised serious questions about the fairness of Afzal Guru’s trial. He did not have representation in the decisive lower court, and the confession that he made in police custody was allegedly made under torture and later rejected by Guru. Guru’s family was not informed prior to the execution and a final farewell was thus denied to them. Even his body was not released to them. Because of all this, we reiterate our long-standing opposition to the death penalty under all circumstances – I repeat, all circumstances – and I emphasise once again that the abolition of the death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))

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