India has utilised the death penalty for the first time since 2004, executing Ajmal Kasab in Pune, Maharashta, on Thursday 22nd November 2012.
The EU condemned the decision as a step-back in efforts to remove the death penalty from judicial systems worldwide.
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, said in a statement:
“I am very concerned by the execution which took place early this morning in Pune, Maharashtra. Irrespective of the merits of the case, I deeply regret this breach of the de-facto moratorium on the death penalty observed by India since 2004, which also goes against the global abolitionist trend. We recognise that terrible murders were committed at the heart of this case and we are aware of the suffering of the victims and their families. However, I do not believe that capital punishment can ever be justified. This also comes just two days after the adoption, in the UN 3rd Committee, of the Resolution on Moratorium on the use of the death penalty with an unprecedented number of votes in favour.
“The EU is opposed to the use of death penalty in all cases and under any circumstances. I call on the Indian authorities to reintroduce the moratorium on executions as a first step towards definitive abolition of capital punishment.”
Kasab was found guilty by Indian courts of offences including murder, waging war on India and possessing explosives. He was part of a group of gunmen who went on rampage in Mumbai in 2008, together killing 164 people and wounding over 300.