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Friday 5 June 2020

Death warrant #4: Rapists’ lawyer calls the court a ‘bully’

With the release of the fourth death warrant from the Patiala House court, advocate AP Singh appeared to have lost his cool, as he accused the court of intimidating him and the media of funding Nirbhaya's family

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The Patiala House court has issued a death warrant for the fourth time in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case. The court has ordered the execution of the four convicts on 20 March at 5:30 AM. While society would like to believe this is the rapists’ last date with their fate, their lawyer AP Singh claims he still has legal options left.

Singh, who has saved his clients from execution time and again, says the culprits are being told they will be hanged again and again. “This is judicial murder,” he says.

After the fresh death warrant was issued, Singh lost his temper while talking to the media outside the court. He said, “Today the fourth warrant has been issued. You have hanged them three times before. How many times will you hang them?”

“How many times will they be hanged while the constitution is under media pressure? They are not terrorists. They are educated. They are improving in jail, making changes in their lives. Your screams are telling how much pressure there is,” Singh said, sounding exasperated.

First death warrant

Second death warrant

Third warrant

‘Why death warrant? I still have options’

Singh said, “Akshay still has legal options. The jail authority received his mercy petition. When the court asked whether Akshay’s mercy petition was in Tihar, the jail authority said ‘yes’.”

The rapists’ lawyer said another hearing was scheduled for the Supreme Court. The union government had petitioned for the execution of the culprits separately.

After the Patiala House court issued a fresh death warrant to execute the four convicts — Akshay Thakur, Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma — Singh lost his temper while talking to the media outside the court. He said, “The rights of a convict under Article 72 for mercy petition are being trampled upon. CrPC says that you cannot kill a person more than once. Do not commit judicial murder. Do not commit state-sponsored killings.”

Singh told reporters how much money they wanted to provide to Nirbhaya’s family. “Get it for someone else too,” he remarked caustically.

‘Court is a bully’

Further, Singh laid serious charges on the court, saying, “The court told me I was playing with fire. ‘The results will be wrong for you,’ it said. It means it is intimidating me. It is bullying me. It is exploiting me. This means that it is wrong to exercise legal rights.”

Before ordering the execution of the culprits on 2 March, the court had pulled up Singh during the hearing, saying, “You are playing with fire, you should be cautious.” One wrong move by someone and you know the consequences.”

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