The relatives of the four convicts, on death row in the 2012 Delhi gang rape case, said on Thursday that they are innocent.
“Give him one chance,” said the mother of Mukesh Kumar, adding that she has no one except him. His brother Ram Singh, the prime accused in the case, committed suicide in Tihar Jail in 2013.
The sister of another accused Pawan Gupta also demanded that her brother should not be hanged. “He is innocent,” she told HT.
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The mother of the third convict Vinay Sharma said that five people cannot be hanged for the death of one person.
The family members were protesting outside the Delhi court which is hearing the petition of the 23-year-old victim’s parents seeking death warrants against the four convicts. The court adjourned the hearing in the case till Monday (February 17) stressing on the rights of the convicts under Article 21 of the Constitution for his decision.
“In my considered opinion, Article 21 of the Constitution protects the life and liberty of a condemned prisoner till his last breath. It is a matter of right to exhaust his legal remedies and the court cannot afford to ignore the fundamental rights of the convict,” said Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana.
He said that deciding this application would lead to further legal complications.
The judge also appointed an advocate to represent Pawan Gupta, one of the four death row convicts in the case, after he refused to take a lawyer offered by the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DLSA) as legal aid.
The adjournment led to a protest by the victim’s parents outside the court.
The Delhi High Court had on February 5 given a week’s time to them to exhaust all legal options; that period ended on February 12 and the parents moved the trial court after nod from the Supreme Court.
The physiotherapy intern was gang-raped and savagely assaulted on the night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in South Delhi. She died of her injuries a fortnight later in a Singapore hospital.
Six people – the four convicts, Ram Singh and a juvenile – were named as accused.
The trial of the five adult men began in a special fast-track court in March 2013.
Ram Singh, the prime accused, committed suicide by hanging himself in Tihar jail days after the trial began. The juvenile, who was said to be the most brutal of the attackers, was put in a correctional home for three years.
He was released in 2015 and sent to an undisclosed location amid concerns over a threat to his life. He, when released, was 20 years old.
Mukesh, Vinay, Akshay and Pawan were sentenced to death in September 2013 by the trial court.