Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, the sole death row convict in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, today moved the Supreme Court seeking stay of execution of his death sentence scheduled for July 30.
Memon, 53, said in the petition that the order for hanging him is illegal because proper procedure was not followed. His lawyers said that the death warrant should not have been issued before he had exhausted all legal options available.
Memon has also approached the Maharashtra Governor with a plea for mercy. A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court had rejected Memon's request for review of the death sentence on Tuesday. Memon had said in his petition that he was suffering from schizophrenia since 1996, and had been in jail for nearly 20 years.
Investigations after the blast had revealed that Yakub's brother, Tiger Memon and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim were masterminds of the attacks. Indian authorities have been unable to catch them, and they are suspected to be living in Pakistan. Yakub Memon, a chartered accountant, had returned to India on his own in 1994 to protest his innocence and clear his family's name. He said that he surrendered to the police to cooperate with the investigation. The police said that was not true, and that they had arrested him.
He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to death in 2007 by a special terrorism court in Mumbai for financing the attacks, and for arranging the training of assailants who carried out the plan. Thirteen deadly bombs had gone off around Mumbai, including at the Bombay Stock exchange, on March 12, 1993. 257 people were killed, and over 700 injured in the explosions.
International human rights NGO Amnesty has said that Supreme Court's rejection of Memon's mercy plea is a disappointing and regressive step. “Lawmakers in India often find it convenient to hold up capital punishment as a symbol of their resolve to tackle crime, and choose to ignore more difficult and effective solutions like improving investigations, prosecutions and care for victims’ families," said Divya Iyer, Research Manager at Amnesty International India.
(With agency inputs)