Three convicts in Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case move International court to stay execution

As the days for the hanging of the four convicts in Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case nears, three of them have moved the International Court of Justice at Hague seeking a stay on their “unlawful execution”, alleging the probe leading to their conviction was “flawed” and they have been treated as “guinea pigs”.

The petition, filed through the convicts’ lawyer AP Singh, also said that the four — Vinay Sharma, Pawan Kumar Gupta, Akshay Singh and Mukesh Singh — have not yet exhausted all their legal remedies.

It is very important to state that “legal remedies/cases are already pending for disposal before different courts/constitutional bodies in India on behalf of these death row convicts, but very unfortunately and surprisingly in India, Central Jail Tihar has planned and is going to hang them on March 20,” the petition said.

The plea alleged that in the Nirbhaya case, the convicts at different points during the investigation, had pleaded to undergo tests such as polygraph, lie detector and brain mapping, but all such pleas were declined without any justification.

It urged the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to launch an “urgent investigation” into the possibility of false testimony by the sole eyewitness, the friend of the victim, in the case.

The petition claimed that the convicts have been treated as “guinea pigs” and have been falsely implicated in the case and it urged the ICJ to order an urgent probe into the matter.

“The fact whether the convicts are guilty of culpability or there has been public and media pressure to falsely implicate the convicts or to treat them as guinea pigs to save others and accept the hypothesis that the prosecution has booked them at the instance of some political executives or to save a situation which disturb society perceives as a collective catastrophe on the paradigm of social stability and to sustain its faith in the investigation to keep the precept of rule of law alive,” said the petition.

“In essence, the submission is that the whole exercise, namely, investigation and trial has been carried out with the sole purpose for the survival of the prosecuting agency in India, which is a big miscarriage of justice in India,” said the petition.

On March 5, a trial court had issued fresh warrants with March 20, 5.30 am, as the date for the execution of the convicts Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31).

A 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who came to be known as ‘Nirbhaya’ (fearless), was gang-raped and savagely assaulted in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, 2012. She died after a fortnight.

Six people, including the four convicts and a juvenile, were named as accused. Ram Singh, the sixth accused, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail days after the trial began in the case.

The juvenile was released in 2015 after spending three years in a correctional home.