EU express regret over Afzal Guru's hanging

Afzal Guru

The European Union has expressed regret over the hanging of the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and asked India to put a moratorium on executions.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said it was with "regret" that she learned of the execution of Afzal Guru last Saturday.

While recognising that "terrible murders" were committed in the attack and aware of the sufferings of the victims and their families, the EU "reiterates its principled opposition to the death penalty under all circumstances", Baroness Ashton said in a press statement.

Afzal had been on a death row during the last ten years since he was convicted in December 2002 for playing a central role in the attack on the Parliament on December 13, 2001 that left nine people dead.

His execution at the Tihar Jail in New Delhi last Saturday comes less than three months after Ajmal Kasab, the only survivor among the perpetrators of the terror strike in Mumbai in 2008, was hanged in November.

Ashton said the EU calls upon India to re-establish a moratorium on executions, in line with the global trend towards the abolition of capital punishment.

She also offered India EU's support in the fight against terrorism and said the 27-nation bloc looked forward to continuing to work together in this area.

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