Say NO to death for drugs

Publication date: 23 February 2012

In this commentary, published in The Hindu, Rick Lines and Anand Grover, present a long list of international and domestic jurisprudence that defy the justifications for handing down death penalties for drug offenders in India.

They argue that, although most experts agree that drug offences do not warrant death penalties, countries like India impose it regardless of whether offenders were "young or old, sick or mentally infirm, socially and economically disadvantaged or acting under duress or pressure".

Instead, capital punishment is decided on the basis of the quantity of drugs found. Sentencing guidelines based on quantity/purity calculations have been criticised by academic and legal commentators as unreliable and arbitrary.

Read more about the death penalty for drug offences in "The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: A Violation of International Human Rights Law", by Rick Lines, co-founder of the International Centre for Human Rights and Drug Policy and Executive Director of Harm Reduction International.