Death penalty: India, China, US support it

New Delhi, Nov 21 (IANS) When preparations were on to make hang Pakistani Ajmal Amir Kasab, Indian diplomats were opposing a UN General Assembly resolution for the abolition of death penalty.

Kasab, the only Pakistani terrorist to be caught during the Mumbai terror attack of 2008, was hanged in a Pune jail at 7.30 a.m. Wednesday after his mercy plea was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee.

The execution of Kasab showed that India was in no mood to support the move to abolish death penalty.

A record 110 countries supported the resolution while India, China, Pakistan, South Korea, Japan and the US were among the 39 countries which opposed it.

Another 36 countries abstained from voting.

The UN resolution was first adopted in 2007 by 104 UN member states in favour, 54 countries against and 29 abstentions.

While voting against the UN resolution Monday, India maintained that every nation had the sovereign right to determine its own legal system.

"India has done the right thing by opposing the resolution. Death penalty should be there as a deterrent punishment. Otherwise lawlessness will prevail," attorney Guneet Chaudhary told IANS.

"Countries that face terrorism cannot abolish death penalty," he added.

But Amnesty International vehemently opposes capital punishment.

"Capital punishment is irrevocable. All judicial systems make mistakes, and as long as the death penalty persists, innocent people will be executed," Amnesty says.

Statistics by Amnesty show that in 1977, only 16 countries had abolished death penalty while the figure now is over 100.

In 2011, 21 countries carried out executions and at least 63 to have imposed death sentences. In 2010, the figure was 23 and 67 respectively.

In 2011, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the US reported the highest number of executions worldwide.