India Bomb Plotter Seeks Stay of Execution
A convicted bomb plotter due to be hanged next week lodged on Thursday a last-ditch challenge with India's top court, claiming his death warrant had been issued before all legal avenues to appeal were exhausted.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a final appeal by Yakub Memon, who was convicted for plotting the 1993 Mumbai bomb attacks that killed hundreds, paving the way for his execution after more than two decades in jail.
But his lawyers lodged the last-ditch appeal saying his execution date of July 30 had been set in April, before this week's Supreme Court verdict.
Eleven people have been convicted over the 1993 attacks, the deadliest in India's history.
The Bombay Stock Exchange, the offices of Air India and a luxury hotel were among the targets of the March 1993 blasts, which killed 257 people in India's commercial capital.
The attacks were believed to have been staged by Mumbai's Muslim-dominated underworld in retaliation for anti-Muslim violence that killed more than 1,000 people.
Rights activists have criticized the decision to hang Memon, an accountant who denied any involvement in the bombings.
He and two of his brothers were convicted in 2006 by a specially designated court using controversial anti-terror legislation that was introduced after the 1993 bomb blasts and is no longer on the statute books.
Another brother, Tiger Memon, was alleged to have masterminded the attacks along with Mumbai gang boss Dawood Ibrahim.
Both have been on the run since 1993 and Yakub Memon is the only one of the 11 convicted to have had his death sentence upheld on appeal.
Media reports said Memon's wife had visited him on Thursday in jail in western Maharashtra state, were he is scheduled to be hanged.
India ended an eight-year unofficial moratorium on executions in 2012 when it hanged the lone surviving gunman from the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks.
A Kashmiri separatist convicted of involvement in a deadly 2001 attack on the Indian parliament was executed in New Delhi in 2013.