In Rare Execution, India Hangs Man Tied to Mumbai Bombings

Yakub Memon was executed on 53rd birthday despite public pleas for a stay
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2015 12:14 PM CDT
In Rare Execution, India Hangs Man Tied to Mumbai Bombings
Social activists condemn the hanging of Yakub Memon in New Delhi, India, yesterday.   (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

The accountant who served as the "middleman" in the 1993 Mumbai bombings that killed more than 250 people and injured more than 700 was hanged this morning—his 53rd birthday—at a prison in India, the New York Times reports. Yakub Memon, who raised funds for the attack, made travel arrangements, and obtained weapons and vehicles for car bombs, was the only defendant in the plot to be executed—a rare outcome in India, where only four people (including Memon) have been executed since 2000, the Times notes. Of the 100 people who've been convicted in connection with the crime, 10 others received death sentences that were commuted to life in prison, the AP reports. The main suspects, mobsters Dawood Ibrahim and Memon's brother Ibrahim, are still on the run.

But there are many who don't think Memon should have gotten the death penalty. Social activists and even government officials protested the sentence, with some claiming that Muslims and other minority groups receive worse treatment in the penal system than the Hindu population. His lawyers also said that Memon surrendered of his own free will in Nepal, while a retired intelligence official wrote in a 2007 column that was just published last week that "there is a strong case for having second thoughts about the suitability of the death penalty" based on Memon's willingness to cooperate. But the judge who sentenced Memon tells the Times of India that even if he did surrender, that doesn't qualify "as an act of repentance or remorse." (More Mumbai stories.)

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