The Bold Voice of J&K


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K.V. Seetharamaiah

A bomb maker has been sentenced to 5200 years in jail or 67 consecutive life terms by the Israeli military court in 2004. Abdullah Barghouti, known as Hama’s ‘engineer’ is No.1 on Hamas prisoner swap list. He was responsible for series of attacks in public places killing over 60 Israelis and 5 Americans in early 2000s. He has been considered as one of the most notorious prisoners in Israel. He is at the top of the militant outfit’s list for a prisoner swap. Hamas in a meeting in Quatar Monday maintained that any peace deal must include a serious exchange deal between hostages in Gaza and Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Complete Israel withdrawal from Gaza is another demand of Hamas. The US-backed resolution endorsing three-phase ceasefire plan has been passed by the UN. Barghouti says that he was deeply moved after his uncle and cousin were killed in the resistance movement against Israeli occupation. He is said to have travelled to Palestinian territories in 1999 and joined Hamas as an ‘engineer’. Barghouti has claimed that he is a university graduate, well-travelled and a music lover who made his first suicide bomb with his guitar – a ‘prized possession’. This was revealed by him in an interview to CBS News in 2006. He started to make bombs to avenge the killing of two Hamas leaders – Mahmoud Abu Hanoud and Ayman Halawa in a helicopter crash in July 2001. That was said to be the beginning of his revengeful action with a series of attacks and he started training Palestinian youths in making explosive devices, using hand grenades and so on. His target of attack was Israeli forces in Jerusalem. Between 2001 to 2003 he had allegedly sent bombs and is said to have killed several Americans and more Israelis than anyone else including children and pregnant women. This attracted international attention. During his trial in the Israeli military court, he is said to have confessed to killing 66 people and injuring over 500. In the absence of a death penalty in Israel, the court had ordered one life sentence per killing and another for wounding 500 people. The sentence awarded to Barghouti is said to be the longest ever. He is unrepentant. He is said to have told the CBS News that he was ready to make bombs should he get a chance to escape after his arrest in March 2003 by Israeli forces. It requires no pundit to say that no one can live for another 5200 years either from the first date of birth or from the date of sentencing. Israeli military court viewed that his sentence for 5200 years is in proportion to the crime perpetrated by him. 5200 years sentence is not the longest sentence. The longest sentence is 1,41,078 years jail sentence awarded to a Thai tycoon Chamoy Thipyaso who deceived thousands with Ponzi scheme. The world’s longest serving prisoner is Udanta Sai, brother of freedom fighter Veer Surendra Sai for 47 years in India, according to the claims made by the historians. James Alex Fields Jr. is reported to have received jail sentence for 10,000 years for killing his estranged wife Diane Kyzer, his mother-in-law Eunice Barringer and College student Rick Pyron. Charles Scott Robinson received sentence for longest number of years in the US jail with a sentence of 30,000 years on multiple counts of child sexual abuse. Shortest jail sentence is one minute. Soldier Joseph Munch was sentenced for being disorderly while drunk off duty in Seattle in August 1905 who was brought before a municipal court judge on the charge. It is said that punishment to be meted out to the convict should not be disproportionate to the quantum of crime committed.
The Supreme Court of India has defined life imprisonment as “confinement for the balance of the convict’s natural life”. This definition from Supreme Court has come in the case of Bhagirath and Ors.vs.Delhi Administration.
A person awarded with life term will undergo minimum of 14 years in prison or a maximum of entire life in prison in India. Death penalty has not been abolished in India. It is awarded in the rarest of the rare cases.

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