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Mahendra Nath Das’ execution has been suspended until 21 July by the Gauhati High Court in Assam, north-east India, as the Government has sought time to respond to the Court. This is acrucial time to appeal to the Government to commute the death sentence.
An application seeking commutation of the death sentence was filed earlier this month by the mother of Mahendra Nath Das. The Gauhati High Court sought an explanation from the State and Central Governments to explain why it took 11 years to make a decision on the mercy petition. At the hearing on 17 June, the Central Government was granted an extension to submit its response and the Court suspended the execution until the next hearing on 21 July.
Courts in India have previously commuted death sentences on grounds of delayed decisions on mercy petitions. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
Mahendra Nath Das was sentenced to death in August 1997 for a murder in Guwahati, Assam in 1996. His would be the first execution in India since 2004.