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Sarabjit deserves no leniency: Pak court

Islamabad, Sept. 14 (PTI): The death sentence handed to Sarabjit Singh is “well deserved” and “warrants no leniency”, the Pakistan Supreme Court had ruled, local daily Dawn reported today.

The apex court’s comments came on August 18 as it upheld the capital punishment for the Indian, convicted of carrying out five blasts in Pakistan in 1990 as a RAW agent.

The two-member bench had then rapped the trial court for convicting Sarabjit only on one count of terrorism “when he should have been convicted and sentenced separately for each murder in each case”.

Sarabjit’s lawyer Abdul Hamid Rana said he had not yet received a copy of the detailed judgment and would file a review petition as soon as he got one. If the review confirmed the death penalty, he would file a mercy petition to the Pakistan President.

A defence must file a review petition within 30 days of receiving a copy of the detailed judgment. It gets another 15 days or more to prepare its arguments.

“More importantly, I have not yet been granted permission to meet my client. I want to meet my client before I file a review petition,” Hamid said.

The lawyer said the recent TV interview by one of the witnesses asserting he was forced to testify against Sarabjit “under duress” has no legal value until he contradicts his earlier statement in the court itself.

But Hamid will refer to the contradiction in his review petition and also point out the confusion over whether Sarabjit really is Manjit Singh, the name under which he has been prosecuted, convicted and sentenced.

Pakistan foreign minister Khursheed M. Kasuri said yesterday that “under the (Islamic) law, the death sentence could be commuted to life imprisonment if the relatives pardoned Singh”.

Sarabjit’s family today expressed hope that the leaders of the two countries would find a “positive” solution to save his life.

“I foresee a prosperous future for my brother. I am hopeful that during their meeting today, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf will discuss the issue of unconditional clemency for him,” said Dalbir Kaur, Sarabjit’s sister.

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