Execution of two Indians put on hold in Kuwait

New Delhi, June 26 (IANS) The execution of two Indians - who were convicted in Kuwait for murdering a Sri Lankan - was put on hold just 48 hours before they were to be executed June 18, following the intervention of the Indian mission, an official statement said here Wednesday.

The execution of Suresh Shanmugasundaram and Kalidas Chellaiyan was put under suspension after the Indian mission in Kuwait intervened in the matter and sought the intervention of Kuwait's Minister of Justice, the Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and the Minister of Amiri Diwan, said a press release issued by the external affairs ministry.

"These strenuous efforts seem to have resulted in suspension of the execution sentence on June 16, just 48 hours prior to the execution. The Indian Mission is now pro-actively working on commuting the sentences to a lesser penalty," the release said.

The two Indians were convicted for murdering Sri Lankan national Sitheek Masudah.

Shanmugasundaram and Chellaiyan, along with Sri Lankan national Premila Rekky, were arrested by Kuwaiti police June 16, 2008 and charged with murder.

Though Indian Mission in Kuwait provided the two with legal assistance by engaging a local lawyer, the court of first instance convicted them of murder and awarded them death sentence March 3, 2009.

Their appeal against their conviction and award of death sentence too was turned down by the court of appeal April 24, 2009.

Even though the relatives of both the convicts reached an agreement to pay blood money, but Indian embassy June 14 came to know that both were going to be executed June 18.

It was at this stage that the Indian Mission in Kuwait "redoubled its efforts" to save the two from being executed, the statement said.

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