Apex court also issued notice to the Centre on Mohd Arif's plea seeking its direction for his release
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the execution of death sentence of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist Mohammad Arif alias Ashfaq in the 2000 Red Fort attack case in which three people, including two Army jawans, were killed.
A bench headed by chief justice R.M. Lodha also issued notice to the Centre on Arif’s plea seeking its direction for his release on the ground that he has already spent over 13 years behind bars and he should not be hanged after such a long period.
He submitted that execution of his death sentence would amount to punishing him twice for the crime as he has already spent over 13 years which is nearly equivalent to life imprisonment. The petition also said that he has been suffering from physical and mental illness due to the long delay in judicial proceedings as also on the part of the government in executing the sentence.
The apex court had on 10 August 2011 upheld Arif’s death sentence and dismissed his appeal challenging the capital punishment awarded to him for the 22 December 2000 Red Fort attack by a sessions court and affirmed by the Delhi high court.
The Supreme Court, while upholding the death sentence, had said the “arrogant" assault was a “brazen attempt" by Pakistan “to overawe" India and wage war against it. Arif had challenged the high court’s 13 September 2007 judgement which had upheld the death penalty awarded to him but had acquitted six others sentenced for varying jail terms.
The high court had dismissed Arif’s appeal against the trial court verdict awarding him capital punishment for waging a war against the state and killing three persons, including two Army jawans, in the Red Fort.