President Murmu rejects mercy petition of Pakistani terrorist in Red Fort attack case

President Murmu rejects mercy petition of Pakistani terrorist in Red Fort attack case

President Droupadi Murmu has turned down the mercy plea of Mohammed Arif, a Pakistani terrorist convicted in the 2000 Red Fort attack. This marks the second mercy petition rejection since she assumed office in July 2022.

Story highlights
  • President rejects mercy plea of Pakistani terrorist Mohammed Arif in Red Fort attack case
  • Supreme Court had upheld Arif's death penalty, citing threat to national security
  • Legal experts note Arif can still seek commutation under Article 32 due to prolonged delay

President Droupadi Murmu has rejected the mercy petition of Pakistani terrorist Mohammed Arif, alias Ashfaq, who was convicted in the nearly 24-year-old Red Fort attack case, officials said on Wednesday. This marks the second mercy plea rejected by the President since she assumed office on July 25, 2022.

Arif's petition, received on May 15 and turned down on May 27, was officially rejected on May 29 according to the President's secretariat order. The Supreme Court had previously dismissed Arif's review petition on November 3, 2022, affirming the death penalty awarded to him. The court emphasized that the attack posed a direct threat to the country's unity, integrity, and sovereignty, and found no mitigating circumstances in Arif's favor.

The Red Fort attack, which took place on December 22, 2000, involved intruders opening fire at the 7 Rajputana Rifles unit stationed within the historic monument, resulting in the deaths of three Army personnel. Arif, a Pakistani national and member of the banned terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), was arrested by Delhi Police four days after the attack. The trial court sentenced him to death in October 2005, a decision upheld by both the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court in subsequent appeals.

The conspiracy to attack the Red Fort was hatched in Srinagar, where Arif had illegally entered in 1999 along with three other LeT militants. The three militants -- Abu Shaad, Abu Bilal, and Abu Haider -- who also participated in the attack, were killed in separate encounters.

Despite multiple legal challenges, including review and curative petitions, Arif's plea for mercy was ultimately rejected, underscoring the severity of the crime and the threat it posed to national security. The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the death sentence reflected the gravity of Arif's actions and the impact on India's sovereignty.

Legal experts note that, although Arif's mercy petition has been denied, he can still approach the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution to seek commutation of his sentence on the grounds of prolonged delay.

Edited By: sanchayaita roy
Published On: Jun 12, 2024