Cigarette Burns, Nudity, Hung by Wires: Life of death row convicts

, 11:12 AM IST

New Delhi: More than three-fourth of death row convicts in the country belong to socially, economically and educationally backward section of the society, according to a report.

Burning skin with cigarettes, inserting needles into fingernails, forced nudity, forced anal penetration with rods and glass bottles, forced to drink urine, made to urinate on heater, hung by wires, extreme beating etc are a few forms of torture that have been revealed in the report by Centre for Death Penalty of Delhi National Law University.

The study which documents the socio-economic profile of prisoners sentenced to death in India identifies that almost three-fourth of the prisoners were economically vulnerable and a major chunk of them were either primary or sole earners in their family.

If the accused is illiterate, it affects his defence, Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B Lokur said.

76%  of convicts awaiting gallows belong to backward classes and religious minorities, as per the report which also includes all the 12 female death row convicts of the country.

Two hundred and sixteen of 270 prisoners, (i.e, 80%) in this study spoke about custodial torture faced by them which includes the most inhuman, degrading and extreme forms of physical and mental torture inside the dark walls.

The study also found that 23% of prisoners sentenced to death had never attended school and 61.6% had not completed their secondary education.

“If the accused is illiterate, it affects his defence,” Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B Lokur said during a panel discussion regarding the report.

The report identifies 385 death row convicts lodged in various prisons across different states among which Uttar Pradesh tops the list with 79 convicts in line to gallows.