Gandhi killers spared death
The Supreme Court has commuted the death sentences for three men convicted in the 1991 assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. The three were among 26 convicted of playing minor roles in the May 1991 assassination, but were the only ones left on death row after the others were released or had their sentences commuted earlier. They denied knowing anything about the plot to kill Gandhi as he was campaigning in May 1991 for a return to the prime ministerial office. The trio served more than 20 years in a prison in Tamil Nadu. Their lawyers have argued that executing them after such terms would amount to an unconstitutional double punishment. The court yesterday commuted the sentences to life in prison.
Poisoner sentenced to die
A medical student who murdered his roommate at a prestigious Shanghai university by poisoning a drinking water dispenser was sentenced to death yesterday. The Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court said Lin Senhao (林森浩) committed homicide “out of spite” using the toxic chemical N-nitrosodimethylamine, taken from a laboratory of a Shanghai hospital where he was an intern. At his trial in November last year, Lin claimed the poisoning of his Fudan University roommate was an April Fool’s Day prank, the Shanghai Daily newspaper reported. The victim, Huang Yang (黃洋), drank the water on April 1 and died on April 16. Prosecutors rejected Lin’s argument he was playing a joke, since he was familiar with the chemical from experiments on laboratory animals. The court said Lin could appeal the sentence.
Man jumps into tiger den
A man survived an unsuccessful attempt to feed himself to a pair of Bengal tigers and is being treated for depression, a Chinese newspaper reported yesterday. According to the Chengdu Business Daily, Yang Jinhai (楊金海), 27, climbed a tree and jumped into the tigers’ enclosure on Sunday at the Chengdu Zoo in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. As stunned visitors watched, Yang — who is unemployed and suffers from mental health issues, according to his brother — “performed exaggerated movements” as he spent 20 minutes trying to tempt the tigers to eat him. “I asked them to bite me and let them eat my meat, and so I did not fight back,” Yang told the paper. However, while he was scratched and dragged by the back of his neck, the tigers declined to make a meal of him. Zoo staff tranquilized the animals so that they could rescue Yang, who sustained “16 minor wounds,” the report said.
Terror-linked drugs seized
Australian and Pakistani navy ships have seized almost 2 tonnes of cannabis resin in a drug bust off Oman that officers described yesterday as a setback for extremist groups. HMAS Melbourne and Pakistan’s PNS Alamgir joined forces to intercept and board a dhow east of Oman’s Masriah Island, where they found 1,951kg of cannabis resin hidden in a secret compartment in its fishing hold. Estimating the haul to have a street value of US$102 million, Melbourne commander Brian Schlegel said its seizure would help staunch funds going to extremist groups that rely on illegal drug shipments for income. “The 62 bags contain cannabis resin bricks, almost 4,000 bricks in total. Each brick is more than enough to buy an AK-47 or IED [improvised explosive device] components,” Schlegel said.