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Afzal should not be hanged: Jethmalani

Source: PTI
November 28, 2006 19:50 IST
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Demanding commutation of death sentence to Parliament attack convict Mohd Afzal Guru, legal luminary and nominated member Ram Jethmalani said on Tuesday that life imprisonment for him should be alright.

Participating in a short discussion on internal security scenario in the country in Rajya Sabha, he charged the government with not allowing Afzal to get the lawyer of his choice.

Jethmalani said he did not know if Afzal was one of the attackers and that he was only accompanying those who attacked Parliament.

"Life imprisonment is bigger than any doctrine that you will go to heaven (after getting death punishment). You must keep him in jail for life," Jethmalani said while referring to the convict.

"The poor fellow (Afzal) did not even get a fair trial," Jethmalani said, adding though two of the lawyers whose services were sought by Afzal refused to take up the case, the government also decided on its own lawyer for defending Afzal.

Jethmalani said instead of coming out with new legislations to deal sternly with terrorism, the government should take recourse to the existing laws in an effective manner.

During his address, he also criticised the the former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh for accompanying the terrorists to secure the release of hostages of Indian Airlines plane in Kandhahar.

He said he felt 'ashamed' of the incident as he was at that time a Cabinet minister and had even spoken on the matter then to the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

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