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LONDON: British Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Roger Godsiff have signed a letter urging President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to consider sympathetically the mercy petition of Mohammed Afzal Guru, sentenced to death by the Supreme Court for his role in the December 2001 attack on Parliament.
A protest was also held outside the Indian High Commission here on Friday demanding "justice" for Afzal, and the South Asia Solidarity Group launched a "Save Afzal Guru" petition.
The protesters raised slogans such as "no death penalty," "torture," "lies" and "fabricated confession."
The letter said: "We urge you to ensure that injustice is not done to a citizen by depriving him of life or personal liberty and that his human rights are not violated."
The signatories included a number of U.K.-based South Asian activists Amrit Wilson (South Asia Solidarity Group), Sarbjit Johal (Asian Women Unite), Naeem Malik (South Asian Alliance), Shafaq Hussain (Association of British Kashmiris), Anandi Ramamoorthy (1857 Committee), and Najib Afsan (Anti-Mangla Dam Association).
They urged the President to exercise his constitutional powers, saying Afzal's "only hope of living is the mercy petition which is with you."
"Mohd. Afzal Guru was convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidence and from the start he had no effective legal defence. He was tortured by the police and security forces and has been the victim of a hostile media campaign," they said.
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